Columbia County denied a sports bar liquor license on Tuesday, in part because of the applicant’s marriage certificate.
County officials recommended that The End Zone Bar & Grill, located near Grovetown, be turned down on suspicion that Crystal Odom had applied for the license to Scott Brown, whose name appears repeatedly in legal documents listing him as the restaurant owner.
When another document suggested Brown was Odom’s father-in-law, she insisted the two were not related.
During the application process, “we felt like we were replacing the license and she couldn’t keep it because she was Mr. Scott Brown’s daughter-in-law,” said Paul Scarbary, director of the Columbia County Building Standards Division.
At the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night, Odom said she and Brown’s son are actually “getting married in August,” as she tried to untangle the company’s tangled chain of ownership.
She said she “largely” agrees with the county’s account: Brown was the original applicant for an End Zone liquor license on Nov. 20, 2018, but 10 days later transferred ownership to Chastity Gregg, who then became the alcoholic, occupational tax and the restaurant’s restaurant received business licenses for 2019-2021.
However, the county noted that Brown signed the alcohol and excise tax returns for October and November 2020 as the owner of the end zone. When County Code Enforcement contacted Gregg, she said it sold the company to Brown in late 2020 but intends to remain the applicant for End Zone’s licenses.
According to the county, Gregg announced on March 26 that it had relinquished ownership of End Zone. Nine days later, Odom applied for the liquor license and stated that Gregg had sold the business to her. On April 13th, Odom submitted a purchase agreement from Gregg.
On April 14, excise duties for December 2020 through March 2021 for the end zone were filed with a check re-signed by Brown. The county also said the End Zone property purchase agreement had a signature from Scott Brown that did not match a notarized document from the county.
Odom told commissioners that Brown’s authentic signature did not contain the “squiggle” that appears on many other documents. These, she said, were signed by staff who signed checks and filed tax returns on Brown’s behalf.
Describing Gregg and Brown’s relationship as “volatile”, Odom said that “the frills are everyone else running this business because Chastity and Scott acted like 4-year-olds and left it up to us to do it.”
But District 1 Commissioner Connie Melear said she could “not leave marriage entirely behind”.
Melear said that at a previous meeting with county officials, Odom said she was not related to Brown but didn’t seem to reveal the upcoming wedding to Brown’s son.
Odom said she may inadvertently not mention the wedding because of nervousness and fear, but then told Melear, referring to Scott Brown, “I’m not related to him at all.”
Melear then inquired about the existence of a 2020 marriage certificate for Crystal Lynn Odom and Daniel Scott Brown.
Odom said that he and her fiancé “filed with the Appling Courthouse for us to get married,” but she reiterated that the wedding will be on August 3rd later that year.
Examination of a certified copy of the license. District Attorney Chris Driver said that despite the lack of a religious ceremony, the document “means they are legally married”.
“Well, we haven’t had our ceremony yet,” said Odom.
“Whether or not you had a ceremony, you are legally married,” County Manager Scott Johnson told Odom.
The commissioners voted unanimously to reject the license application.