BREAKING NEWS: Pink Palace plans to rebuild

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The investigation into the fire that destroyed the Pink Palace adult entertainment store outside Boligee continues, however, the investigation into whether the owners should be given a county business license has not begun.

Greene County Sheriff Johnny L. Isaac said Monday that he had not learned from the County Commission what exactly he is supposed to be investigating.

The owners of the business tried to pay for a specialty license through the county Probate Office before the store burned Feb. 5. The owners then paid the $500 investigation fee for a license to the County Commission.

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At the Feb. 9 commission meeting, the investigation of the business was turned over to the sheriff to be conducted in the same manner as an alcoholic license is investigated.

However, Isaac said his department does not conduct investigations into businesses for alcohol licenses as is customary with sheriffs in surrounding counties. He has not conducted such an investigation since he became sheriff.

Isaac said his office should be investigating businesses for alcohol licenses and that he has asked the chairman to be involved in the process. Although state ABC officials do investigate, it needs to be investigated on the local level.

“We have to contend with these people,” Isaac said. “Some of them have bad business practices, and then they relocate some place else.”

In the matter of the Pink Palace, Isaac said, “I’ve got to find out what is required for (an adult) specialty license. Personally, I don’t see why an investigation is needed. You don’t have a building.”

The owners have not made any indication to the sheriff whether they plan to rebuild. “They didn’t even inquire about the fire,” he said. “I don’t see why I should go through the expense and all of investigating something that is not going to be there. It’s unnecessary.”

If there was evidence of construction of a new store building, Isaac said he would take the matter of the license more seriously.

Both the sheriff and the state fire marshal have labeled the store blaze suspicious. Material from the fire site has been taken back to a forensics lab for investigation.

Chris Beeker, chairman of the County Commission, has previously said the county would not approve the specialty license for the adult business.

“Then why have me go through the investigative process?” Isaac said, adding that the license process should have been put on hold until county officials knew the owners were going to rebuild.

“I need a building” to investigate, Isaac said.