Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein has filed a lawsuit against the High Five Carry Out calling it a “true menace to the Short North community.” The case is set for a hearing in the Franklin County Environmental Court Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
According to court documents, Columbus Police have responded to the carryout approximately 150 times in the past year. The complaints include property destruction, fights, disturbances, suspicious persons, trespassers, open container violations, public intoxication, people with weapons, assault and battery. Police Officer testimony indicated that the High Five Carry Out accounted for as many as one-third of all calls for service in the entire precinct, draining police resources that could have been directed to other community needs in the area.
Cecil Heyman who works at The Joint, a tobacco shop nearby, says panhandlers and others gather outside the store for one product in particular.
“This is the only place beside Kroger you can go in and buy a dollar beer in the short north,” Heyman says.
Area business owners say the aggressive panhandling for beer money outside the store is causing potential customers to avoid the area.
Lacey Thompson, owner of The Garden, says the situation has gotten out of control. “We’re losing business,” Thompson said. “People are afraid to get out of their cars. I have customers that have to be walked to their cars in broad daylight.”
The city says it warned the owner repeatedly about evidence of underage sales of alcohol, persistent criminal activity and violations of health and fire regulations.
The city objected to the renewal of High Five’s liquor permit last December and the Ohio Division of Liquor Control sustained the city’s objection on June 21, 2018. However, state law allows the store to continue selling alcohol at the premises until all their rights of appeal have been exhausted.
“With the prospect of this business continuing to sell alcohol during the pendency of the appeals process, we felt compelled to take further legal action to shut them down,” said Assistant City Attorney Katarina Karac. “We’re hoping to finally come to a resolution in this case and want to thank the community for their diligence and assistance.”
“This carryout was a true menace to the Short North community and surrounding businesses as evidenced by the number of concerned citizens and business owners who are planning to attend tomorrow’s court hearing,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “From selling meth pipes and ‘Natty Daddies’ to underage customers, to a victim being assaulted with a hookah, to a report of a store employee helping an assailant stab a victim with a pair of hedge clippers, this case had it all.”
Jehad Jallaq, the owner of the carryout, declined to talk on-camera but told NBC4 he didn’t believe he should be held responsible for what customers do after they leave his store. Jallaq said if the city shuts him down, all those customers will simply move up High Street to the next closest carryout.