CINCINNATI — The St. Bernard Police Department released incident reports on Saturday they said are related to GG's Bar and Grill leading up to the sudden closure of the business last week.
Bar owner Nakkiya Groomes said she was blindsided last week when the locks on the front door of her bar were changed and she couldn’t get in. The bar had been in business for six months. Groomes said things had been going well and that GG’s was a typical neighborhood bar.
“Initially I was shocked,” she said. “I was confused because I didn’t understand what was going on. I wasn’t warned about anything happening or locks being changed.”
St. Bernard Police Chief Michael Simos said the department had received a “multitude of complaints” against GG’s Bar ever since Groomes opened in mid-2019. He didn’t share what the complaints were on Wednesday during WCPO's initial reporting but said the decision to change the locks was ultimately up to property owner Joe Van Zandt.
Van Zandt said the St. Bernard Police Department gave him an ultimatum: “Close it or we are going to go to Columbus and block your (liquor) license.”
Lt. Bill Ungruhe, public information officer with the St. Bernard Police Department, said he met with Van Zandt on Jan. 1 to discuss community complaints and police calls to the bar.
"Joe VanZandt came in to meet with LT Ungruhe to discuss ongoing trouble that he was made aware of by numerous persons at his business," reads Ungruhe's notes in the document highlighting police runs and complaints to the bar.
"I told him that if he doesn't meet with Groomes and do something about this he leaves us no options but to start a case with liquor control and that may ultimately cause him to lose his license so him coming in to show he wants to improve things there is a step in the right direction," Ungruhe wrote.
In all, there are 21 recorded police runs in the document sent by the St. Bernard Police Department. A few are unrelated to the address' function as a bar; other incidents involve noise complaints, intoxicated people, large crowds and parking violations. There is one report listed for a fight, one for drug-related issues and one violation that involved a vehicle refusing to pull over for a traffic stop before tossing an illegal gun out the window. That report is recorded as two separate incidents; one for the initial traffic violation and one for the discarded gun, which wasn't found until hours later.
An earlier incident, recorded on July 2, involved complaints stemming from a "large crowd and 50+ motorcycles on street at an event at the bar. Bikes parking illegally and revving engines and weaving in/out of traffic causing alarm. PO Setters monitored the crowd and did not take any enforcement action," the report reads. It said officers then discussed proper handling of large events, parking issues and public safety with Groomes.
"Unfortunately, this large crowd of bikers created an alarm with the residents of our bedroom community even though the bikers were behaved besides the traffic/parking violations which we just monitored and discussed with Groomes and Joe," Ungruhe wrote underneath the incident description.
You can read the full report sent to WCPO by St. Bernard Police below: