Breaking: Judge denies liquor license for prospective Red Dogs owner, keeping bar shut down

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Wrightsville Beach’s icon nightclub Red Dogs still doesn’t have a liquor license after a North Carolina administrative judge on Thursday upheld the decision of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to deny the license to a prospective new owner who had ties to establishment’s former owner.

The ABC rejected the liquor license application of Jon Shellem, a former manager of the nightclub, through his corporate entity, Venue Card LLC. Red Dogs, located at 5 North Lumina Ave., had operated in Wrightsville Beach from 1975 until November 2016.

Red Dogs and its former owner Charlie Maultsby has a long history of challenging the town government, and after several successful efforts to retain his license for the bar, he had to relinquish his ABC permit for the bar in 2016 following a felony gun conviction. Jimmy Gilleece, owner of the downstairs bar Jimmy’s at Red Dogs, took over the license in 2016 as a temporary permit holder and employed Shellem as a manager, but the ABC board rejected his request for a permanent license after it determined that Maultsby still had an operational role in the business.

Consequently, an ABC report on Shellem’s permit application found that he had established a consulting agreement with Maultsby, which the ABC said showed that he would still have an operational role in the business. Shellem argued that he terminated the agreement, but an attorney for the ABC said that commission’s decision was based on the information available at the time. Shellem has the opportunity to appeal the decision.

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