STEUBENVILLE - Derek Smith won the right to re-open Club 106 on South Street Monday during a hearing in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.
But with the court approval came a warning from Judge Joseph Bruzzese.
"I don't want any customers there when you are selling beer. If you violate that again I will give the city what they want," declared Bruzzese.
City officials had asked the court to keep the club closed but Bruzzese said the city building department had issued a temporary occupancy permit to Smith, "so he gets to occupy it. But you don't have a liquor permit so you can't have liquor in there."
The judge's ruling came after repeated objections from Steubenville Law Director S. Gary Repella and attorney Costa Mastros.
"If you allow him back in there we all know he will be selling alcohol again," said Repella.
"Mr. Smith has violated the court's order three times. You give him the simplest orders to follow and he violates them every time. What trust has he gained from the court? Every time you give him some rope he runs with it and we are back here," argued Mastros.
Smith said he was permitted to rent his facility to nonprofit organizations for fundraising events.
"If he has a way to deal with the liquor issue legally then he can do it legally. If he doesn't then you can raid him again. Mr. Smith seems to think he can do it legally," noted Bruzzese.
Smith was fined $1,000 earlier this month for contempt of court.
Bruzzese ordered the Club 106 on South Street to be closed and padlocked during a Nov. 4 court hearing while Smith completed renovation of the building and met city requirements to obtain an occupancy permit.
"I want your customers to have a place to go but I want you to do this the right way," Bruzzese told Smith during the Nov. 4 court hearing. I want you to be legal. I am for this to be done legally. From this day forward only you are allowed in the building. You will have to do the remaining work by yourself," Bruzzese told Smith at the Nov. 4 hearing.