Owner Denies ‘Club’ Is Business

The owner of a Steubenville building on South Sixth Street, which is the subject of an injunction, admits he uses the building as a “community social club” but denies it is a business.

Costa Mastros, assistant city law director, filed the injunction against Derek Smith of 144 Wildon Ave., the owner of the building at 601-603 South St.

Mastros said Smith is operating a business in the building known as Club 106.

Smith was served a notice of zoning and building code violations on Aug. 28 and given until Sept. 10 to cease operations of the club. Mastros said Smith continues to use the building in violation of the city’s zoning and building codes.

The area around the club has been the focus of numerous police calls, including a shooting in August that left two people with gunshot wounds.

Smith, through his attorney, Gary Stern, admits the city served him with notices but denies he has committed a substantial or significant violation of the zoning regulations.

Stern, in his counterclaim to the injunction, said the city is guilty of selective enforcement by intentionally taking legal action against Smith under vague technicalities in the zoning and building codes, which it does not take against similar property owners.

Smith is seeking judgment in excess of $25,000 against the city and Anthony Bodo, Steubenville zoning director.

A hearing had been scheduled for this week before Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson, but Stern argued Henderson represented the city at one time as its law director. Henderson agreed to step aside, and the case was transferred to Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. A hearing is set for Monday before Bruzzese.