COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Richland County Sheriff's Department has fired the next volley in their ongoing disagreement with a Decker Boulevard business they say has been operating as an illegal strip club.
RCSD deputies served a stop work order against Mi Casita on Friday afternoon. The order allows the sheriff's department to make arrests if the business continues to operate.
"The community has made numerous complaints about the criminal activity that go there," Sheriff Leon Lott said. "It's not just the noise, that's an issue too. But the loud music that plays and disturbs everyone in the community, gunshots and other criminal activity that goes on there."
In the last two years, the department responded to 32 calls for service at Mi Casita. Sheriff Lott said the calls range from shots fired, to fights in progress to the homicide that took place outside the business in October of 2017.
"An undercover inspection in March showed entertainers performing nude lap dances as well as performing on stripper poles," Sheriff Lott said.
Several months back, Richland County Council denied a new business license for the establishment on grounds they were operating as an illegal strip club.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said the county worked with the club to bring it into compliance, but then, the county zoning administrator conducted an unannounced visit in late March and found they were still non-compliant.
If the owners do not comply with the current order, Sheriff Lott said the department will be able to pursue charges as well as potential arrests.
"This is just a step in the process of ensuring this business stops operating illegally," he said. "It is not zoned for sexually oriented activities. It sits too close to neighborhoods, churches and schools."
Lott, the sheriff's department, and Richland County Council have used stop work orders against businesses they've found operating as illegal strip clubs.
Just last year, Lott and the county issued a stop work order on the Black Pearl after numerous neighborhood complaints against the St. Andrews Road night club and a shooting there that killed two brothers.