Sunset Lounge liquor license issue settled

WARREN – The owner of the liquor permit held by Blue Magoo LLC has 180 days to file an application for the sale or transfer of the permit or lose it.

A signed agreement mailed from the Ohio Liquor Control Commission on Thursday, says Blue Magoo’s Ventures, LLC agreed to eight conditions to allow the liquor license renewal to move forward.

Joe Sankey Jr., who owns Blue Magoo’s LLC, is the holder of the liquor license.

Attorney Marc Myers, representing Blue Magoo’s Ventures, signed the agreement along with Jim Sander, assistant city law director.

The agreement allows Sankey to maintain the liquor permit in safekeeping until it is transferred or through the remainder of the current safe-keeping period. Permits may be kept in safekeeping for 180 days.

Liquor licenses may be placed in safekeeping whenever the permit premises are destroyed or made unusable for any cause, according to state law.

The city initially filed to prevent the license from being renewed in 2012, after police reported more than 20 calls for service at Sunset Lounge, 480 E. Market St., over a four-month period and after state investigators found documents that indicated convicted felon LaShawn Ziegler had ownership in the business.

Agents from the Ohio Department of Public Safety inspected the Sunset after a complaint was made alleging a “hidden ownership.” Agents found that Ziegler had been participating in the business despite terms of his probation that he not enter liquor establishments.

It then worked out the agreement with Sankey to have the bar closed after a 25-year-old man was shot to death there on New Year’s Day 2013.

Sankey, agreeing to voluntarily close in 2013, prevented city officials from closing the bar for up a year due to it being a nuisance.

The agreement signed this week stipulates that Blue Magoo’s Ventures, LLC will not operate its business at 480 E. Market St., and it shall file a transfer of ownership and location application with the Division of Liquor Control, if the liquor license is sold or transferred. If it is transferred, the new business location must be outside of the city.

The building in which Sunset Lounge was located was sold to The Movement church.

The agreement also stipulates that Ziegler have no business with Blue Magoo’s Ventures, nor can the liquor license be sold or assigned to him. Blue Magoo’s also gives up its right to appeal the order.

The city has the right to oppose any future renewal of the liquor permit, according to the agreement.