NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk city leader, the NAACP and an entertainment industry rep are reacting to the city’s crackdown on nightlife.
Tuesday night, Norfolk City Council voted to revoke Scotty Quixx’s Conditional Use Permit because of a meal tax discrepancy.
Following the meeting, the owners tell 10 On Your Side they plan to take legal action. They expect to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Scotty Quixx can operate as a restaurant, but cannot serve alcohol, have live entertainment and must close before 2 a.m.
This makes the fourth business in Norfolk to lose its right to operate as a nightclub in the last year, following an increase of violence in the city. The other businesses include Origami Asian Bistro, Culture Lounge, Legacy Lounge and now Scottie Quixx.
The final vote was 5-2-1. Council members Danica Royster and Paul Riddick voted against the move, while Norfolk Vice Mayor Martin Thomas abstained from voting.
Riddick, a long-time councilman, believes Black-owned businesses with mostly Black customers are being targeted.
“It’s just not fair and right now the City Council in Norfolk is being too heavy-handed. If crime was our problem, let’s take care of that,” explained Riddick. “These little clubs are low-hanging fruit.”
Riddick tells 10 On Your Side he is not a fan of Scotty Quixx, yet he calls the recent action of the council a “witch hunt.”
“I have voted not to close any of the businesses, whether it’s Legacy, whether it’s Scotty Quixx, which is not one of my favorite places. But, because the city is just trying to unjustifiably close down places that they believe attract persons downtown that they don’t want downtown, and it’s racial,” he said. “They should have a reasonable time to explain the discrepancy and challenge what is said.”
The city alleges that Scotty Quixx is in violation of its permit as its sales reports to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) do not match up with its meal tax payments to the Commissioner of the Revenue.
Riddick believes the tax amounts provided to council were not “concert numbers.”
Earlier this week, Charles Brown II hosted the “Virginia State of the Union” meeting to bring artists, DJs, venue managers, and elected officials together to discuss ways to support local artists. Norfolk City Council was a hot topic during the meeting.
“The nightlife is kind of being scapegoated. When the clubs and venues are a very small part, if at all, in violence that’s happening around the 757.”
Brown owns media marketing business DarKnight Ent. He works closely with upcoming artists and entertainers. He feels the younger generation is not being heard.
“We want to feel safe too. We are not against what they are trying to do to make people feel safe, but there is a way to do it where everybody is involved. Where not erasing a culture.”
Brown also questions the city’s long-term goals and vision for the downtown area with housing redevelopments nearby area and plans to bring a casino to the city.
“It feels like there is a bigger plan in place that we have nothing to do with. It feels like we’re in the way when a lot of us are providing opportunity and entertainment.”
The Norfolk NAACP President Stacie Armstead released a statement to 10 On Your Side.
We, the Norfolk Branch NAACP are concerned about the most recent Black-owned business, Scotty Quixx, having it’s permit revoked. We will be reaching out to City Council to work on implementing local efforts to promote the growth of Black owned business not destroying them!Stacie Armstead
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