Members of the Ocala City Council voted to revoke Time Out Billiards’ alcohol license after a lengthy, heated hearing that included testimonies from the owner of the company and the Ocala Police Chief.
The repeal, which was approved at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 6, came as a result of what the city called an abuse of its public security resources.
In particular, Ocala City attorney Patrick Gilligan called on multiple witnesses on behalf of the city to bring a case showing multiple peace violations, noise complaints and dangerous incidents at Time Out Billiards, located at 618 South Pine Avenue.
According to Gilligan and Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken, those incidents consumed an inordinate amount of Ocala Police resources. On several counts, Balken and his staff suggested that Time Out Billiards used more police resources by a factor of “10 to 1” than any other comparable company.
Balken spoke of multiple incidents over the past two years, including a double shooting in the bar, as well as a separate arrest in which police collected 17 firearms from one person.
In addition to police concerns, Ocala Fire Rescue Captain Anthony Ortiz cited multiple instances where the company operated without the proper license to operate a nightclub. Ortiz indicated that although the company was licensed as a restaurant, it operated as a nightclub.
In his defense, owner Mohamed Abdelfattah suggested that his company was unjustly attacked, that he had complied with the city and that he had reduced the number of incidents in the previous week.
He suggested other companies were experiencing similar problems, citing a shooting that took place in O’Malley’s Alley in downtown Ocala.
Although he spent nearly an hour making comments in defense of his business and his efforts to resolve the issue, the owner was eventually met at every turn with evidence dating back to 2019.
In a recent case, Balken says all of his 14 officers have been called to the scene, along with 9 officers from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Balken said that if the city did not vote for repeal, its only option would be to withdraw its detail officers.
“We have no more answers. We are not in the business of serving as [Mr. Abdelfattah’s] private security,” said Balken.
After Abdelfattah’s lengthy comments, the Ocala City Council voted unanimously to revoke the company’s alcohol license.