A Calhoun County business owner says his establishment was unfairly shut down because the sheriff’s office claimed it was the site of recent shootings.

Club Rolex owner George Gates came before Calhoun County Council on Monday to question why his property has been singled out by law enforcement as a public nuisance.

“A lot of the things that were said about what happened never really actually happened on the property,” Gates said.

Citing reports that someone got shot on his property, he said “That did not happen.”

Calhoun County Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance last month identifying Club Rolex as a “public nuisance” and giving the sheriff’s office the authority to shut it down.

Club Rolex is located on Three Bridges Road outside of Lone Star.

The sheriff’s office claims Club Rolex is unlicensed to operate.

At least four people have been shot at or near the business recently, the sheriff’s office says.

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Gates questioned how council could adopt an ordinance without having three readings.

“All of these things had already been done and I did not have a chance to come in,” Gates said. “If it had been read three times, I would have had a chance to come in and say what I have to say about it. I think it is unfair because it is only targeted toward my establishment. I think that is discriminatory.”

Gates expressed disbelief that council gave the sheriff “all this power over private property.”

“I still say my business is a private party on private property,” Gates said. “I have not been charged with any type of criminal activity.

“I am still here. I am not locked up. I didn’t get a ticket or anything.”

“I am asking county council right now to go ahead and reconsider,” Gates said.

Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Matt Trentham said an emergency ordinance does not require three readings.

Trentham explained that the closure of the business is temporary as the matter proceeds through magistrate’s court.

Calhoun County Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Bloom upheld the sheriff’s office’s decision to close Club Rolex down on June 17.

Another hearing will be held July 7 and then a hearing will be held about 30 days later.

Sheriff Thomas Summers questioned Gates’ version of the story.

Summers said one of the shootings happened on the back porch of Gates’ property and another, while it did not happen on his property, was directly related to a conflict that originated at the club.

“He is trying to come up with about anything he can but everything he is saying is totally untrue,” Summers said.

Summers also said, while the closure is temporary, Gates will need a lot to open back up.

“He has no alcohol license, no DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) approval to cook and prepare food and no certificate of occupancy,” Summers said. He also claimed that Gates does not have insurance.

Council Chairman James Haigler told Gates council acted at the request of the sheriff.

“We are getting blamed for it, but the council did what we were asked to do,” Haigler said.

“We can’t rule over a judge’s ruling,” Councilman Cecil Thornton said.

As written, the county’s nuisance ordinance allows law enforcement to shut a business down where “the laws are publicly, repeatedly, persistently, intentionally violated.”

While the emergency ordinance is specifically for Club Rolex, county council indicated it plans to amend the ordinance permanently to address any future, similar situations.

Gates previously told WACH.com that Club Rolex is not a club, but a private party.

He also said he spent money to increase security, including checking vehicles and making sure visitors are at least 21.

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