Sheriff: ‘Palace’ fire likely arson

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Greene County Sheriff Johnny L. Isaac said he suspects arson in the Feb. 5 fire that destroyed the Pink Palace adult entertainment store outside Boligee.

“My belief is that it was set — from my experience in investigating arsons,” he said Monday. However, the sheriff was not sure who set the fire.

“We know it started from the electrical box,” Isaac said, and it is not uncommon for an arson fire to begin in the electrical box.

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Isaac and the state fire marshal’s office had both previously called the fire suspicious. They are waiting on results from the forensics lab. “They’re 10 to 12 months behind,” the sheriff said.

In addition, Guy Berman, of Choice Freedoms LLC of New Orleans, the owners of the Pink Palace, attended Monday’s meeting of the Greene County Commission. Berman said he understood that the sheriff would present the findings of his license investigation of the adult business. Commissioner Chris Beeker Jr. told Berman there was no such understanding that the sheriff would report at the March meeting.

“So there is no time frame in terms of when the investigation report has to be given?” Berman said. “That’s an issue you’ll have to take up with the sheriff,” said Commissioner Donald Means.

“This is not a commission issue” (in regards to the investigation), Beeker said. “The committee cannot put a time frame on the investigation?” Berman asked. “No,” Beeker said.

Berman did not talk to the sheriff Monday.

The owners need to contact the sheriff, Isaac said, and tell him what kind of business they’re going to establish in the county. “I think they would have done that already,” he said.

“It’s not my business to run them down. It doesn’t seem to me that they are that much concerned.”

Isaac was not sure if he would make any particular recommendation to the commission on whether to give the Pink Palace owners the needed specialty license.