Greenbelt council protests restaurant liquor license
Attempted murder spurs official's actions against renewal
Liquor and the T.G.I. Fridays restaurant aren't a good mix, according to members of the Greenbelt City Council who plan to protest the renewal of the city restaurant's liquor license in May.
The restaurant, which some residents refer to as Club Fridays and located at 6460 Capitol Drive, was the location of 27 incidents ranging from disorderly conduct to attempted murder between January 2009 and February 2010.
The attempted murder occurred Feb. 17 when Bowie resident Lee Relph, 36, allegedly slashed two individuals with a knife. Relph's motive is not being released, because the incident is under investigation, said Greenbelt Police Spokeswoman Kelly Lawson. Relph has been charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first- and second-degree assault and one count of carrying a concealed dangerous weapon.
"As of right now, I'm not in favor of them having a liquor license," said Councilman Rodney Roberts. "I think it's just a matter of time before somebody dies over there, if we don't do something about it."
The City Council's protest had to be filed with the Prince George's County Liquor Control Board by March 1, though the license is not up for renewal until May 31. The council requested a meeting with T.G.I. Fridays management, but as of March 17, no meeting had been arranged.
A manager at T.G.I. Fridays, who would not disclose his name, refused to comment.
A clerk, who would not disclose their name, in the office of the board of license commissioners in Prince George's County said any time a protest by the board, a municipality or 10 residents living near the restaurant is made, a hearing is called where the board meets with the restaurant and city representatives.
A police incident report compiled by Lawson shows that during the 13-month period, there were nine disorderly conducts; six thefts; four assaults; three counts of possession of drugs; and one each of sexual offense, stolen vehicle, failure to obey a lawful order, trespassing and attempted murder. The 27 incidents compiled are only of arrests made at T.G.I. Fridays, Lawson said, so "if a fight breaks out and no calls or arrests are made, it doesn't get documented."
Greenbelt resident Colette Zanin said the restaurant's evening operations have a reputation for being "wild and dangerous."
"A big corporation like Fridays would be most attentive if their coffers were threatened, so not having their liquor license renewed or some other monetary sanction is most likely to have an impact," Zanin wrote in an e-mail. "I do not think Fridays needs to be gone, but toned down, even if it means the in-crowd takes their business elsewhere, because as is, the establishment is costing the community."
Lawson said three officers are assigned to the restaurant on Wednesdays, which is "Bike Night" for a motorcycle group called the Platinum Rollers MC, and two are assigned between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. One officer is assigned to the restaurant on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Greenbelt police officers are also assigned part time to three other restaurants: Willy K's, Denny's and Jasper's.
E-mail Jordan Attebury at firstname.lastname@example.org.