UPDATED: Police Arrest Asylum Manager Following Investigation

Action follows months of complaints regarding illegal sales of alcohol and after-hours operations.

EAST ATLANTA — After complaints of alleged illegal activity, Atlanta police officers went to the Asylum Restaurant & Lounge early Wednesday morning, seized the establishment's alcohol and arrested the manager, Couri Antonio Williams.

Williams is charged with operating a business ouside allowed hours of operation, selling alcohol without a license, not having a business license, storing alcohol without a license and failure to display a license.

Williams, who, according to his Facebook page, lives in Lithonia, is no stranger to the criminal justice system.

In 2004, he pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and no contest on a marijuana possesion charge. He was arrested on other charges in 2003 and 2011, according to DeKalb County records.

The action, which occurred at about 7:15 a.m., follows months of grievances lodged against the bar at 543/551 Flat Shoals Ave. SE.

And it follows what apparently had been an ongoing investigation into the operations of the bar, which may have been operating illegally since it lacks a city liquor license.

There also is an ongoing question about its ability to sell hard liquor and have live entertainment within 300 feet of a house.

Brian Michael Sawyer, an owner in Asylum, did not return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

But Sawyer, who, according to Project Q Atlanta has a history of woes in his past ventures, told the magazine he didn't know about the police action or the arrest.

"I have no idea. I am in Nashville," the magazine quotes him as saying. "I have no clue what anybody is talking about. I am visiting my mother.

"What really chaps my ass is this (explative) over this crap continuing," Sawyer continued, as he threatened legal action against the publication.

The tipping point for Asylum may have come this weekend, though. The Asylum manager approached a group of people on the patio of the Midway Pub across the street at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday inviting them to an illegal, $10 all-you-could-drink party at 3 a.m.

Among the people at the table he approached: Stephanie Ramage, the citizens' advocate at Atlanta City Hall and an off-duty Atlanta Police Department officer.

From that police officer's report:

"We were approached by a black malewho stated that the club across the street from our location (Asylum) was having a birthday party starting at 0300HRS. The male stated that it was $10 to get in and free beer. When the male was leaving the location, he stated again the party was starting around 02:30 but would really be rollin' around 4."

The weekend incident underscores what neighborhood leaders have said is Asylum's continued flouting of local laws.

"I hope that the owners and management of the Asylum will be held fully accountable for what appear to be deliberate and egregious violations of a number of city laws," Ronald Lall, public safety chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit - W, told East Atlanta Patch, Wedenesday.

"We will be encouraging the City Solicitor to make an example of these individuals by seeking the maximum penalties for their long list of alleged violations, when the case is presented."

Since the beginning, the bar, Lall said, has fought the neighborhood on hard liquor sales and having live entertainment within 300 feet of a house.

"They continued to say that they believed there's some other measurement. They've been obstinate in their belief that they can interpret the ordinance better than the police department can interpret the ordinance," Lall said.

"I think most residents understand that starting and running a business is filled with challenges, however, I will be very surprised if anyone in the community thinks that it is acceptable to blatantly disregard the rules the way that Asylum owners and managers allegedly decided to.

"Naming your business Asylum does not, and should not, grant you immunity from the laws that business owners and operators are required to abide by."


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James June 12, 2013 at 07:20 PM
This place got opened but the idiots on the NPU wouldn't let Ale Yeah! open here. Brilliant.
Joannie June 12, 2013 at 09:09 PM
NPU doesn't have the final say at all. Just "input." [Believe me, I'm not saying they're not idiots like certain other NPUs...and that they definitely can de-rail the plans of legitimate business...just that they're not the final say.]
Nicholas MacKenzie June 12, 2013 at 09:17 PM
"There also is an ongoing question about its ability to sell hard liquor and have live entertainment within 300 feet of a house." There is no question about this. Anyone that reads the code can see that this is not possible. It also explicitly states that a measurement from the front door to a residential property line is no longer valid. Ironically, if you measure from the front door of that building along the sidewalk and behind the building it is just over 300ft, but the building itself actually 0ft away from that same line.
Al Pharetta June 12, 2013 at 10:22 PM
This is too funny. An "investigation" as to whether they had a liquor license? A uniformed officer walks in and asks to inspect their liquor license. No license? End of story. End of investigation. Now what is "Law & Order" going to do with the remaining 56 minutes?
mike June 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Glad to see this happem the have been ripping bands and booking agents since they started what some losers. Anyways, can charge them with theft of services! karma is a bitch!
Sleazy E Cretin June 13, 2013 at 12:07 AM
About time- I guess that the violent crimes, in EAV, will calm back down...
SaveAsylum June 13, 2013 at 03:41 AM
East Atlanta has always had a bad reputation! Asylums after hours did not cause any of the recent crimes in EAV so I highly doubt the violent crimes will calm down if that one night club gets shut down.....remember the 2 people who got hit by the red convertible in front of asylum?? That red convertible was leaving from The Glenwood when it hit Asylums innocent by standing customers.....do not judge one club just bc it's finally gettin business in EAV!
JM Hurricane June 13, 2013 at 05:28 AM
East Atlanta has always been a haven for Orcs. As once said by Goblin Leader Krax Zulla, "Orcs are everywhere it's gettin' kinda old," stating it's even hard to slobber anymore. Krax, a 17th level goblin, has been eating flesh of humans in EAV since the Druid Wars. He also likes long walks in the Zurrilian Swamps and campfires in the Pits of the Caves of Doom.
Joannie June 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Heartily agree with this ! Duh...
Rob June 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM
The NPU enforces the rules - they don't make them, James. Yes, those rules that kept Ale Yeah! from opening in the Village are ridiculous, but you're blaming the wrong party.
Rob June 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM
The manager and his girl are geniuses. Remember kids- don't forget to clean the coke off the table. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=537430789628806&set=a.211981215507100.58290.100000856706759&type=1&ref=nf http://i.imgur.com/U29mv5Il.jpg https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=179939532169940&set=a.101789386651622.4310.100004616821849&type=1&relevant_count=1 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=181689668661593&set=a.101789386651622.4310.100004616821849&type=1&relevant_count=1
Péralte Paul (Editor) June 13, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Those are disturbing images, Rob.
Nick M June 13, 2013 at 01:56 PM
He just posted this on his Facebook yesterday - "After hours is still going on ! But it's bout to get tighn up to the T! Get her by 3:30 doors will be close and shut, we gotta do this right for it to work ! Asylum after dark ! Get u some!"
Chris H June 13, 2013 at 02:13 PM
What a bunch of raging morons. They deserve everything they are getting. EAV does not need this kind of trash anywhere near it.
Chris H June 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
I see his stupid post. I don't get it. How can he still be open? I thought the cops shut the place down? Or did they just arrest him and take his booze?
RD June 13, 2013 at 03:10 PM
That is too bad because a growler/craft beer store would do very well in EAV.
Joannie June 13, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Chris H, I'm pretty sure that post was from the night prior to him being arrested.
Nick M June 13, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Joannie, it was, but he reposted it yesterday. Maybe he's trying to keep it going? Who knows.


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