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Revocation of Joe’s Meat Market business license hits a snag

By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

A move by Cordele City Manager Roland McCarthy to strip Joes Meat Market, 1305 South Joe Wright Drive, of its business license ran into opposition from the owner’s son and several neighbors.

“Chairman, during the work session, I gave you a packet listing all the events that has transpired at Joe’s Meat Market for the last three years,” McCarthy said. “Over the last three years there has been 20 individual events at Joe’s Meat Market, the last being a shooting on June 28 at 8:33 p.m.

“We have spoken to Joe over the years about his responsibility and he is just not doing what he is required to do.”

McCarthy said the city ordinance specifies that the repeated failure of the holder of the license or employees of the business to control fighting, disorderly conduct, utilization of controlled substances indecent conduct and excessive noise.

“He has violated those conditions numerous times,” McCarthy said. “And I am asking at this time that you revoke his alcohol license.”

Commissioner Vesta Beall-Shepherd interrupted saying the commission should hear the separate charges before making any kind of decision.

McCarthy began reading the list of 20 charges including everything from assault to murder to a baggy pants violation.

“Of all those 20 complaints, how many is Joe responsible for,” Commissioner Royce Reeves asked McCarthy.

“They happened on Joe’s property so he is responsible,” McCarthy replied.

“That happens at WalMart. Are you asking to close them?” Reeves retorted. “We wouldn’t have those 20 complaints if the police had done their jobs. I don’t think we would be talking about taking Joe’s license if the police had done their job.”

At that point chairman John Wiggins asked if there was anyone present to testify in Joe’s behalf.

Joe’s son, Vijay Patel, approached the lectern and

My brother actually runs the store,” Patel said. “My father just spends time there. And you are correct that there are things that are going on there that is beyond our control and we should have called the cops. But if we call the cops on a regular basis, things will happen.”

“You become a target,” Reeves said.

Patel said he and his family had been held at gunpoint twice when people followed them home from the store.

“We were scared to death,” he said. “But it has become kinda normal now. I understand the city’s view, but there’s a lot of good people that live there. There are some people there that make it look bad, but it’s not our fault or the good people’s fault.”

Patel said the family planned to relocate somewhere downtown but they need some time.

“All we want is time in case you decide to shut us down,” Patel said.

Wiggins asked if they had any control over the events happening outside the store.

“We asked them to move from outside the store and they moved to the little carport beside the car wash,” he said.

Reeves interrupted saying the Patels had painted a “no loitering” sign outside the store at the police department’s request

“Once they did that, it became an issue between the police and those people,” Reeves said. “Joe aint got nothing to do with it.”

After hearing from several customers that came to give their opinions, Wiggins closed the hearing and more will be heard at the next meeting.