MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The owners of Levelz Bar and Grill have filed a lawsuit against the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County.
The summons filed on Feb. 2 names the property owner, Melvina Devine Davis, the State of South Carolina as defendants.
According to the document, the owners of the bar believe Horry County, with help from the City of Myrtle Beach, “began a campaign to shut down certain businesses they deemed undesirable to the area,” and their business was unfairly targeted. The document claims that it is “policy” for the city and the county to close bars based on any misconduct associated with the business.
Levelz Bar and Grill opened in 2014 on 9th Avenue North after signing a five year lease with defendant Melvina Davis in April. Police reports and the lawsuit confirm drug arrests, a fight between two females, and a public intoxication arrest occurred on or near the property. The lawsuit alleges the owners of Levelz operated lawfully and any issues were dealt with legally and the business was in no way responsible for any of the incidents.
Furthermore, the lawsuit says officers were dispatched to “keep check” on the business, and at one point, as many as ten officers were in the bar at a time conducting “walk-throughs.”
When the bar reached out to the city to complain about recent harassment by police, a meeting was held and city officials expressed their desire to shut down the business, the lawsuit says.
Three days later, on Feb. 5, the plaintiffs received a notice of public nuisance stating the property was being used to sell drugs and for the continuous breach of peace, and the owners had ten days to abate the issue. The same notice was sent to the owner’s landlord a few days later.
The lawsuit says on Feb. 13, Davis told the plaintiffs she believed the notice from Horry County meant they had defaulted on their lease and they had ten days to leave the property.
The lawsuit alleges representatives from the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County inaccurately informed the landlord that the business had become a public nuisance and was “being used for the sale of controlled substances,” and also blames those allegations for terminating the relationship between the landlord and the bar owners.
On Feb. 15, a man was shot and killed in front of the building next to Levelz. Saequan Lamar Vereen died after he left the club on 9th Avenue North. The shooter, Kevin Tyrone Bryant, had waited for nearly 10 minutes between two cars parked outside the club before he shot the victim, previous News13 reports say. According to the lawsuit, it was later determined the shooter had been hired to kill the victim and the shooting was in no way related to the operation of the plaintiff’s business.
According to the document, in response to the city and the county’s “harassment and intimidation tactics,” the owners decided to sell the business.
The harassment and misinformation inflicted by the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County constitutes as tortious interference with a contract after the landlord terminated the owner’s lease, the lawsuit says. The defendants claim they were deprived of their propriety rights to operate a business, to sell their business, and also suffered financial damages due to the four years of lost revenue after the lease was cut short.