Prospective Red Dogs owner appealing ABC Rejection

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By Hannah Leyva
Contributing Writer
Red Dogs is still without an alcohol license after the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control commission rejected their latest application. However, one party seeking a license will have an appeal hearing this week.
“Currently the location does not have permits to sell alcohol,” NC ABC Commission Deputy Director Agnes Stevens wrote in an email.
A permit application was filed by Venue Card LLC, which is owned by Red Dogs manager Jon Shellem was rejected by the ABC board.
Shellam is appealing the decision and filed for a petition with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings. As part of the petition, an attorney for Shellam and Venue Card LLC has subpoenaed the Town of Wrightsville Beach for several kinds of information, including but not limited to all communications relating to Venue Card LLC’s permit application between town officials, police, the ABC Commission, and any other person or entity. The subpoena also requests the WBPD’s “complete file” on Shellem, Venue Card, and Red Dog’s, including “all police reports and/or incident reports related in any way to the operation of Red Dogs bar for the past twenty years.”
The hearing has been set for Friday, May 4.
The ABC commission sent Shellem and Venue Card an official rejection letter on February 21, citing “past revocations, suspensions, and violations of ABC laws by prior permittees related to or associated with the applicant, or a business with which the applicant is associated, within the immediate preceding 12-month period at this location” as part of the reason for disapproval.
The nightclub has been closed since last November, when the state ABC commission “disapproved” the application filed by Jimmy Gilleece, the owner of Jimmy’s at Red Dogs located in the unit below Red Dogs. Gilleece took over Red Dogs from long-time owner Charlie Maultsby in December 2016.
During their pre-permit investigation, the ABC commission discovered that Shellam is paying Maultsby a “consulting fee of $1,667 (after taxes) per month.” Gilleece’s application was denied for similar reasons after investigators discovered Maultsby continued to be involved with and profit from the Red Dogs business.
Maultsby lost his ABC permit in August 2016 due to a felony conviction. He has also been at odds with the town in the past over issues regarding zoning ordinances. As a result, the Wrightsville Beach board of alderman voted to not recommend Maultsby’s application to the ABC Commission when he filed for a new permit a few years ago.
The town also formally objected to Shellam’s application. A memorandum sent by lawyers representing Wrightsville Beach to the ABC Commission stated that part of the reason is “since there has been no change in the nature of the problems associated with Red Dogs in prior years during which Mr. Shellam was associated with the business, the Town finds no reason to believe that activity at this location will change in any manner from that in the past.”
The town also formally objected to Shellam’s application. A memorandum sent by lawyers representing Wrightsville Beach to the ABC Commission stated that part of the reason is “since there has been no change in the nature of the problems associated with Red Dogs in prior years during which Mr. Shellam was associated with the business, the Town finds no reason to believe that activity at this location will change in any manner from that in the past.”

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