City sues troubled Short North carryout to shut it down

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A carryout accused of causing trouble in the Short North could be shutting down for good, if the city gets its way.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the City Attorney's office highlights several problems surrounding the High 5 Spice Emporium.

City officials say the establishment is accused of employing "unlawful and irresponsible business practices" that have plagued the Short North.

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Some neighboring business owners say they've been putting up with the issues for years.

"Why are we calling police this many times in one week," Lacey Thompson said.

The owner of The Garden, Lacey Thompson, keeps track of the calls she makes to Columbus Police.

That's because her business is near a troubled carryout on High Street.

"A lot of intoxication, a lot of open containers, a lot of violence," Thompson said.

Thompson says the High 5 Spice Emporium is really the only carryout near 5th and High.

City officials say police have been there about 150 times in the last year and a half.

"I've seen too many businesses leave this neighborhood in the last year because they can't continue to deal with this and it's not fair to us as business owners," Thompson said.

Another neighbor to the carryout, The Joint, has noticed a fair share of problems.

"A lot of the individuals that hang out in front of that store or the store next door, uhm inebriated at all times of the day," manager Eugene Fleming said.

Fleming says the activity out front is costing him customers.

"When we have customers walking down the sidewalk no matter what time of day it is they're getting bombarded. Do you have a cigarette, do you have change," Fleming said.

The city says there more problems than aggressive panhandling.

Its lawsuit sites property destruction, fights, trespassers, open container violations, public intoxication, persons with weapons, assaults and battery.

"I need my customers and employees to feel safe," Thompson said.

Lacey Thompson says she's had enough of it and is hoping for results very soon.

"15 years I've been doing this. We've been here 21 years. This is not right. It's not right," she said.

The owner of the High 5 carryout did not want to talk to 10TV on camera.

The lawsuit hearing will be held Thursday in the Franklin County Environmental Court at 12:30 p.m.

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