Crime & Courts

‘Blue Note’: Another North Charleston Councilman In Hot Water

Lowcountry leader’s club shuts down following citations, lawsuits …

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Agents of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) charged North Charleston city councilman Michael Antonio Brown with multiple alcohol violations this week in connection with his lounge, the Blue Note Bistro.

Brown, 45, was charged with failure to secure a required beer or wine sale permit, unlawful storage of alcoholic liquors and unlawful possession of alcoholic liquors, according to a news release (.pdf) from the agency. The violations reportedly occurred three weeks ago – on March 6, 2024. Sources familiar with the citations told our media outlet they were filed as part of a much broader – and ongoing – look at issues involving several establishments within the city.

Brown has been ordered to appear before a North Charleston magistrate on April 30, 2024 to answer to the charges – all of which are misdemeanors. As with anyone accused of committing any crime, he is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against him.

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North Charleston councilman Mike Brown. (Facebook)

Brown is a staunch ally of fellow North Charleston councilman Jerome Heyward, who was in the news last week over noise violations at another local bar, The Montague Room. Heyward has been referred to publicly as the vice president of that establishment – but its owner claims he has no ownership interest in the business. Both owners have claimed their establishments are being discriminated against because they are black.

In Brown’s case, the Blue Note opted to close its doors in the aftermath of the latest citations – according to a report from Jocelyn Grzeszczak of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.

While SLED’s recent citations may have something to do with the Blue Note’s decision, a flood of recent lawsuits tied to various shootings, brawls and other violent incidents at the club would appear to be the real reason it is shutting down.

According to Grzeszczak’s report, the Blue Note was unable to pay a $1 million verdict entered against it following a March 2021 incident involving two women who were violently attacked attempting to leave the establishment. Three months later, a shooting inside the club wounded one person – while in May of 2022 seven people were wounded in another shooting on the property.

Within the last two years alone, the Blue Note has been named in nearly a dozen lawsuits related to these and other violent incidents.






(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.



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