We suggest they take this chance to regain public faith in an operation that has otherwise served a legitimate community function.
On its good days and nights, the south Cleveland business — located near the corner of 20th Street and King Edward Avenue — hosts an array of family-friendly events: birthday parties, reunions, ballroom dance instruction, martial arts instruction, exercise classes, a Sunday morning church service and other worthy functions.
But occasionally on Saturday nights, the facility — especially over the past several months — has been rented to outsiders from Chattanooga and Dalton, Ga., who have brought large parties and unruly guests to the studio. Those attending have been allowed to bring their own alcohol — none is served at the studio — but this has reportedly led to a series of violent acts outside the building, requiring law enforcement response.
Most have involved fights and isolated reports of gunshots. But after a raucous Saturday night — at about 2 a.m. Sunday, July 28 — some 10 gunshots rang out. Bullets hit a nearby apartment and two vehicles, slightly injuring two people. The bullet striking the residence reportedly came dangerously close to a child.
Losing their patience with such acts of violence, District Attorney General Steve Bebb and Assistant DA Stephen Hatchett filed a Petition to Abate Nuisance aimed at the facility. It was brought before Judge Puckett on Monday who subsequently signed an injunction, along with Hatchett, lessee Freddy Mora who operates Luv 2 Dance Studio, and lessor/building owner Ora Teague.
The injunction allows the studio to remain in business, but with a new set of stringent rules as negotiated by Mora, Teague and the DA’s office. If violations occur, Mora could be charged and arrested.
The new business rules include:
- Luv 2 Dance will close at 11:30 each night unless prior approval is received from the Court, Cleveland Police Department or the DA’s office.
- Functions may include no more than 150 people on the premises at any given time.
- Mora must allow access to the facility by law enforcement at all times whether the building is in regular use or during third-party rentals.
- In the event of a third-party rental, Mora must require the person who rents the studio to be on-site at all times during the event.
- If any event occurring at Luv 2 Dance Studio includes alcohol, Mora will ensure age restrictions are enforced by either private security, by the third-party lessee obtaining security or by the hiring of off-duty law enforcement officers to oversee security at the building.
- Mora will be required to give 72 hours notice to the Cleveland Police Department of any activity that will include alcohol.
Community functions like the Zumba classes, and the dance and martial arts instruction, must also comply with the facility’s new guidelines. Although they are not the problem, they must still conform to the court-imposed guidelines.
Although we would have preferred restrictions on who may lease the facility and who may not, the fact that Mora understands he will be held legally accountable for violations should resolve issues of violence; at least, that is the hope of the court, the DA’s office and local law enforcement agencies.
In an interview with our newspaper prior to Monday’s court appearance, Mora confirmed he wants to reserve the facility for legitimate community functions. He appears genuinely concerned about the acts of violence in past months.
We will take the businessman at his word.
The court settlement appears fair, and we urge Mora and Teague to take full advantage of this second chance.
But if further violations occur, we recommend appropriate court action and the facility’s immediate closure.