State makes two mistakes in effort to shut down gambling at Center Stage

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Montgomery (WTVY)- The civil lawsuit filed Wednesday seeking to shut down Center Stage Alabama, a bingo operation near Dothan, contains misinformation that will likely result in the filing of an amended complaint.

Referring to the legal jurisdiction where the case should be heard, the current complaint filed by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall states, “This Court has jurisdiction over the parties as they are all residents or do business in Greene County, Alabama.” Center Stage is in Houston County though a similar lawsuit was filed against another bingo operation in Greene County.

Marshall’s office wasn’t immediately available for comment Wednesday night. It appears the error resulted in using a template mistake or copy and pasting.

Naming the Houston County Commission---it authorizes the operation of Center Stage---as a defendant, the complaint lists the wrong address. It shows the Commission is located at 2400 Columbia Highway, the address for the county’s road and bridge department. Commission offices are in the Administration Tower at 462 North Oates Street.

The complaint was signed by Assistant Attorney General John L. Kachelman III. Both mistakes can likely be rectified by filing an amended version.

The lawsuit also seeks a preliminary injunction seeking to close Center Stage before a trial is held. “This defiance of state law presents a textbook case for the issuance of injunctive relief. The Defendants’ violations harm not just the State (by creating legally recognized nuisance under law and promoting and engaging in illegal activity of its citizenry) but also any private citizens who wish simply to live in a state that has clear enforcement of the laws,” the injunction request states.

“Every passing day is one more that illegal gambling activity continues in Houston County. Absent immediate action, these illegal devices that “can be used for no lawful purpose” will continue to be offered for play. The Court should accordingly enter the State’s requested preliminary injunction and direct the Defendants to immediately cease operations,” the motion claims.

The case was assigned to Houston County Circuit Judge Kevin Moulton who has yet to set a hearing date.

Besides Houston and Greene Counties, similar lawsuits were filed in Morgan, Lowndes, and Macon Counties where other bingo operations exist.