NORFOLK, Va. — The owners of the Legacy Restaurant and Lounge and their attorney went to court Wednesday to ask a judge to overturn the Norfolk City Council’s decision to revoke the club’s conditional use license.
On September 13, all but one of the city council members voted to revoke Legacy’s license after a violent shooting outside the club in August.
On Wednesday, the city argued the club breached the terms of the license because it failed to do enough to protect the public following a shooting outside Legacy on August 5. Police said the shooting stemmed from a fight that started inside the club. Four men, including a sheriff’s deputy, were shot and injured.
In court, the city argued that a Legacy employee, who was not a member of the security team, removed the suspect from the shooting during that fight.
City attorneys said that violated the CUP and was reason enough to revoke him.
Legacy attorney Tim Anderson disputed that, pointing out that city officials initially said the permit was revoked after claiming the company did not have uniformed security personnel.
“The complaint was that they didn’t have uniformed security,” Anderson said. “Well, they backed down pretty hard on that complaint today and they’ve moved on now that they’re not serving breakfast anymore, which hasn’t even been discussed with the council. The problem with this case – and this is always the problem – is there no record of what they did wrong that requires their closure?”
The city also said Legacy did not have the same security plan or company that was agreed upon when the CUP was approved.
Anderson also disputes this argument.
“It was testified that zoning approved a larger safety plan with another company,” he said. “They had a better security plan than what they negotiated with the city.”
One of Legacy’s owners, Warren Salvodon spoke Wednesday with a security guard who was working that night and an employee of the city’s planning commission.
“I can actually dispute what I saw more than a seven-second clip,” Salvodon said. “I identified everything that happened that night. It’s just the fact that I don’t feel like they really care what really happened that night. I think they had already made their decision before.
A Civil Kings security guard was also called to the stand. He testified that Legacy had four uniformed armed security guards working that night.
The city said Legacy can still operate as a restaurant, but it would have given up its liquor license and would not be allowed to serve alcohol.
Salvodon told the judge on Wednesday that his business derives 50-60% of its revenue from the sale of food and alcohol between midnight and 2 a.m. He said he was not interested in giving up his liquor license.
News 3 reporter Antoinette DelBel asked Salvodon: “So you’re not going to reopen as a restaurant?”
Salvodon said, “Not at the moment. I fight to be a nightclub. That’s what I was and that’s what I want to continue doing. »
The judge said he will decide in two weeks whether to grant Legacy a temporary injunction so it can operate as a nightclub during the legal proceedings.
The City of Norfolk previously issued the following statement:
Legacy’s Conditional Use Permit (CUP) requires it to provide uniformed security guards to control and contain patrons, and to peacefully and effectively resolve hazardous situations to prevent injury. CUP holders must also ensure that the use of their permit does not diminish or alter the value of the land in the neighborhood where their business is located and does not cause a negative cumulative effect in the immediate vicinity and the City as a whole.
A police investigation and accompanying social media footage of events in and near Legacy on August 5 revealed that no uniformed security guards were at the business while a customer, Tyshawn Gray , was restrained and dragged by the neck and clothing. Following the altercation, Legacy staff moved patrons out of the nightclub and onto neighborhood streets, where Mr. Gray then fired several bullets into the crowd, killing four. As a result of these actions, the City proposes that Legacy’s UPC be revoked.
Legacy Lounge issued the following statement last month:
“Legacy Lounge has chosen to appeal the recent revocation of its conditional use license by Norfolk City Council, which effectively terminated all business operations and approximately two dozen jobs. The decision to appeal is taken in the hope that this process will resemble transparency and fairness. They maintain an ongoing invitation to dialogue with City Council, City management and the surrounding downtown community.”