The owner of Club 106 on South Street admitted Monday to making mistakes in the past, but asked an Ohio Department of Liquor Control official for another chance and requested his application to sell liquor at the club be approved.
Derek Smith made his comments during a hearing requested by Steubenville City Council after the legislative body formally objected to a liquor license for the club owner .
"This club stopped being about me a long time ago. I took a dilapidated building that needed to be pushed over and had a dream. Every penny I earned went into that building and it became bigger than me. I chose a belief that is community involved. It is not my club any longer, it is the people's club," Smith said.
Smith told hearing office James Bally said the club serves a need in the community.
"People are looking for somewhere they can have a drink and somewhere they are respected," he said. "My plans call for the creation of 10 jobs in the city and revenue for the state of Ohio."
Smith's request for a liquor licensed focused on his future plans and his community involvement, while the city's argument against a liquor license for Smith cited his felony and misdemeanor record during the 90-minute administrative hearing.
City Council formally objected to Smith's request for a liquor license in May.
Police Chief Bill McCafferty said at the May 13 council meeting he had filed an objection to the permit request citing Smith's felony record and a nuisance abatement complaint the city filed against Smith's Club 106 on South Street.
Club 106 closed down in January when attorneys representing the city and Smith reached an agreement in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.
The city had filed a nuisance action against the club in October.
Bally said he will study the evidence and review the testimony and then make a recommendation to his supervisor, who will make a decision within the next several weeks.
Supporters of Smith spoke in support of the club, including Delores Wiggins who said it is wrong to cite Smith's criminal record.
"That was his past," she said. "We all have a past and we all make history every day. There are things Mr. Smith has done for people a lot of people don't know about. He is sorrowful for what has happened in the past and wants to have his own club where people can have a good time. It is a nice club. I have been there. And I enjoyed the work done by Mr. Smith. He wants to make a living. His past is the past. We all have a past."
According to police Capt. Joel Walker, officers responded to nine calls at Club 106 in 2009, 16 calls in 2010, 11 calls in 2011, seven calls in 2012 and 23 calls in 2013. The calls include reports of shots fired, assaults and search warrants.
Agent Joe Chamberlain of the Ohio Department of Safety testified a search warrant executed on May 31, 2013 resulted in officers finding 375 bottles of beer and liquor, $3,700 in cash, six firearms, nine baggies containing marijuana as well as bags of crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, heroin and pills.