Lime Light operator applies for liquor license

Matthew Lane • Mar 15, 2007 at 12:36 PM

KINGSPORT - The embattled Lime Light Lounge, which has been denied a beer permit by the city of Kingsport, has applied for a liquor license with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

According to a spokeswoman at the ABC, Lime Light operator Olivia Swafford applied for the liquor license March 12. It is the only liquor application ever made on behalf of the establishment.

The application will now be processed and sent to Nashville, where ABC Assistant Director Caroline Smith will decide whether or not to grant approval, something that could take 45 to 60 days or longer.

ABC officials said the commission would gather all information available, verify the information provided by Swafford, and research the establishment before forwarding the application to Nashville.

Lime Light has been at the center of controversy since opening last fall. In December, the Kingsport Beverage Board denied a beer permit for Lime Light, basing its decision partly on the fact that the Swaffords' previous business was Club 229 in the Riverview community.

Club 229 was a constant thorn in the side of the Kingsport Police Department. Numerous arrests took place at the club, including arrests for illegal drugs, violence and several shootings. The club was purchased last fall by the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority to tie into the upcoming HOPE VI redevelopment project,

The Swaffords filed an appeal to the Beverage Board's decision in Sullivan County Chancery Court. Kingsport has not filed a response to the appeal.

Olivia Swafford's son, James W. Swafford Jr., who was originally slated to run Lime Light, was indicted in April on charges of possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

However, those charges were rolled into recent drug charges filed against James W. Swafford Jr. and 19 others during a two-year probe into an alleged drug distribution operation run by James W. Swafford Jr. Police say the operation involved more than 700 pounds of marijuana being brought into and distributed in Sullivan County.

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