WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The district attorney of New Hanover County filed a civil nuisance abatement action Friday on behalf of the state against the owners and operators of the Rhino Club in downtown Wilmington.
According to DA Ben David, the police department has responded to a number of calls for service at the club including fights, assaults and a fatal stabbing that happened in January. He says this action is the first step in permanently eliminating criminal activities on the property.
"This action is the result of a long-term investigation by the District Attorney's Office, the Wilmington Police Department, and the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division," said David in a press release. "In addition to injunctive relief, the city and state seek to recover investigative and attorney's fees, and the owners of the business will be prohibited by statute from operating a similar business here or in the state of North Carolina."
East Coast Development II LLC owns the property, while the Rhino Club was operated by Mad Hatter Wilmington Inc.
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said a nuisance action is a powerful tool that can be used to eliminate establishments that consistently disregard the law.
"Where unlawful acts occur that threaten the health and safety of this community, Wilmington PD is committed to acting aggressively to resolve the matter," said Evangelous.
The NC ABC Commission suspended alcohol permits from the Rhino Club earlier this year. The suspension came on the heels of the fatal stabbing of Taaron Jones that took place near the business after a fight broke out.