THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER Thursday, February 1, 2001 Section: METRO Edition: ONE AND TWO Page: 3B Memo: A shorter version of this article ran in edition 3.



ROBERT F. MOORE, Staff Writer

The clock finally struck midnight for an uptown club that police say has long been a haven for drug-related crime.

Midnite 'til Six, an 18-and-over dance club at 431 E. Trade St., has shut down after club operator Randy Hinson withdrew an appeal of his eviction. B&K Investments, which owns the building, had sought to remove Hinson since last fall.

The eviction is official today.

"For the last 18 months, people have been telling us what has been going on inside the club," B&K Vice President Phillip Brown said Wednesday. "We heard from police and we read newspaper articles. We began to see that what people were saying was true."

Hinson had little to say about the closing of the club.

"It was a good business decision," he said.

Paul Whitfield, an attorney for Hinson, said his client was "distracted from his other business interests by all the attention the club was getting from the media and the police."

Whitfield said Hinson had been considering closing Midnite 'til Six for several months. He also said Hinson "did the best he could" to control the problems inside the club.

"There are probably drugs at every club in Charlotte," he said.

The closing of Midnite 'til Six comes as city officials grapple with ways to control drug activity - especially as it affects teens - at Charlotte clubs.

The Charlotte City Council is reviewing a proposed ordinance that would allow nightclubs to operate after 2:30 a.m. with a permit. The city could revoke the permit if violations occur. It also allows people under 21 inside adult clubs during specific hours. The council is expected to vote on the measure next month.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Hinson's departure brings closure to a lengthy investigation. It may also prevent a public nuisance lawsuit against the club.

"We just hope that someone doesn't come in there and do the same thing," said Sgt. Eddie Levins of the vice and narcotics unit.

Property owners said they have received dozens of inquiries from potential tenants of the uptown building. The two-story building could become anything from a martini bar to office space, they said.

Levins said police had solid evidence that patrons were using drugs inside Midnite 'til Six and that its operators were not doing enough to rid the building of crime. Medic and police officials have documented more than 200 incidents at the club since 1998.

In October, an employee at the club was charged with possession of Ecstasy with intent to sell, police said.

Club operators have denied the charges.

Hinson still faces possible penalties resulting from at least five citations issued by the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement's Charlotte office accusing the club of allowing drug sales on the property.

The N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission is investigating the alleged violations.

Reach Robert F. Moore at (704) 358-5934 or

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