ELYRIA – The Lorain County Zulus Motorcycle Club has closed down its downtown Elyria clubhouse.
The Zulus` decision to leave the 579 Broad St. clubhouse could end Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will`s efforts to have the building boarded up for the next year.
Will said with the club leaving, the problems will likely disappear as well.
“It would solve the problem,” he said.
Will`s office sought to close down the clubhouse as a nuisance earlier this month after a string of fights and other incidents, including a stabbing on Feb. 14 and an April 11 brawl that led to a dozen arrests. Four people were indicted earlier this week on aggravated riot charges stemming from the April 11 incident.
Police recovered marijuana, weapons and liquor from the club when they searched the building after the fight broke up, and three club members later pleaded guilty to liquor charges.
Zulus president Madara “Big D” Edmonds said club members weren`t responsible for the fights – he blamed patrons of other downtown bars – but he didn`t think the club was going to win a legal fight.
“We were dealt a raw hand, but it`s cool. We`ll roll with it and move on,” Edmonds said. “Tomorrow is another day.”
The club intends to keep a low profile for now and doesn`t have plans to open another clubhouse anytime soon, he said.
City Councilman Forrest Bullocks, D-2nd Ward, said he was glad the Zulus were moving on.
“It`s going to be better for the downtown and the whole city,” said Bullocks, whose ward included the clubhouse.
Bullocks said he doesn`t blame the club members for the fights and other problems. The responsibility lay with nonmembers the Zulus allowed into the building, he said.
“I feel sorry for the club and its members and hope they find some place where they can have a club and control the patrons,” he said. “I wish them well, just in another area.”
James Oh, the attorney representing KDS&J LLC, the owners of the building, said during a brief hearing before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski on Thursday that with the Zulus gone his understanding is that county will drop the nuisance lawsuit.
Assistant County Prosecutor Richard Gronsky said during the hearing that Oh was correct as long as the company provided concrete proof that the Zulus were truly gone.
Betleski left in place his order from earlier this month that prohibited alcohol inside the building and also barred Zulus members from entering their old clubhouse.
KDS&J members are allowed to enter the property to perform maintenance work under Betleski`s order.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.