News 12 at 11, January 9, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga -- First Super C, then Club Dreams, now a popular downtown bar with its liquor license on the line, after a fight on New Years leaves a man with severe injuries.
Now, city leaders will also decide the fate of 1102 Bar and Grill.
"You know one guy starts it with a cop and that draws a whole crowd." This is what Mike Guthrie told News 12 in October of 2006 after a fight on a First Friday cost his business one thousand dollars in lost revenue. Now, it Guthrie himself that may cost 1102 its liquor license.
Sgt. Richard Elim told News 12, "It's a serious issue, not only because the owner was involved, but the significance of the injuries to the victim in this case."
The victim, 31-year-old Billy Carlisle, underwent nine hours of reconstructive surgery to his face; investigators say Mike Guthrie is to blame.
"We thought that an alcohol applicant being charged with a felony in Richmond County, especially in connection with an event that occurred at his business, was significant enough to take action," Sgt. Elim said.
Their recommendation? Suspending or revoking the liquor license. Elim says probation is not an option. "The sheriff is trying to take a more proactive approach," he said.
Recent examples: The Commission voted to revoke Super C's liquor license after a deadly shooting last year, and the fate of Club Dreams is also in the Commission's hands this month after another shooting at that nightclub.
Now Sgt. Elim says 1102 is added to the list, which concerns its other owners and patrons like Virginia Skelton.
"It's part of the culture down here, it's something different. Augusta needs more, not less," Skelton said.
Daniel Alsdorf agrees, "We just need to take a step back and look at the whole picture and not because of one instance do something that would basically cut business in half because their bar is well known."
Sgt. Elim also agrees that it's a well known bar not known as a trouble spot by the sheriff's office, but "it's a public safety issue and that's what we deal with, public safety issues."
Mike Guthrie is charged with Aggravated Battery, which is a felony. News 12 called him for his side of the story, but he has not returned our calls.
The sheriff's office says they don't know his side of the story either because he hasn't given them a statement on the fight.
All of this will go before the Augusta Commission, but no date is set.
The victim is still with family recovering, under heavy medication and working on talking and eating solid foods as his face continues to heal.
Disclosure: The victim's sister is an employee at News 12. She is not involved in covering this story.