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Muskegon Officials Meet to Decide Future of Elks Charity Lodge

MUSKEGON, Mich. — After testimony Monday morning at Muskegon City Hall, attorney Robert Chessman is analyzing arguments to help decide the future of the Elks Charity Lodge.

Muskegon City Hall resembled a court room filled with lawyers, witnesses and Chessman, hired by the city, acted as “judge” to determine if the city has the right to revoke the lodge’s liquor and business licenses.

This hearing comes after the Sept. 22 shooting incident that left three people dead.

The city’s attorney John Schrier had multiple witnesses come to the stand, including the city clerk and police.

The city clerk said the Elks Charity Lodge never told her office that its charity and tax-exempt statuses were revoked before the city issued the business and liquor licenses.

When police took the stand they said that the business failed to provide proper security to keep guests and the surrounding community safe. They said that this was proven by the numerous emergency calls they have responded to since 2003, with the largest being the late September shooting.

Police said that not only was the incident a danger to them, but to other residents of the city because nearly every patrol car in the county was called to help. Muskegon Police Capt. Shawn Bride said that the crime scene reached two acres, something that he said the police haven’t dealt with before.

“I saw a combat zone,” Bride said. “I arrived on scene and I could smell the gun powder in the air. People screaming. I saw a woman clutching her chest, bleeding through her blouse from a chest wound.”

A representative with the Elks Charity Lodge was also given a chance to call witnesses but decided against it.

It is unknown when Chessman will make his final recommendation to the city and its commissioners.

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