HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — "They just came and slapped the notice on the door," Ericka Reed said about the moment she learned that the City of Hazel Park had shut down her banquet hall for the third time since the fall of 2020.
The notice was put on the door of Reed's banquet hall, Timeless Gallery, the night of January 14, 2022, just about five hours after two men were shot and killed in the parking lot.
"I feel sorry for the families but it had nothing to do with me or my business," Reed told 7 Action News Friday.
Saturday afternoon, Reed and her attorney have organized what they said will be a peaceful protest outside the venue on John R Road near E. Madge Avenue with others who are in support of Reed and her fight with the city to reopen.
Reed and her attorney, Fallon Moore, told 7 Action News that the City of Hazel Park is using the double murder in their third attempt to shut down Reed's business once and for all.
"It was completely out of my client's control," said Moore. "It was nothing that she could have done to change the outcome in that situation that she had nothing to do with it."
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Moore pulled what she said are the records of 33 police runs to a similar venue in Hazel Park that she said had been operating for ten years without city officials attempting to revoke their business license.
Documents indicate those runs involved traffic complaints and issues involving disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and "loud annoying party.'
And not once was their business license ever revoked, Moore said, adding that it amounts to "discrimination."
"The venue draws a mixed crowd but the majority of those who rent are African American as well," she said.
According to Reed, she has never issued a fine, warning, or slap on the wrist for anything that took place at Timeless Gallery. The Ivy room is the name of Reed's own parent company.
"Let me know what I'm doing wrong and I will do my best to correct it," she said.
Action News reached out to Hazel Park's city manager who released the following statement:
The implication that the closure of the Ivy Room is racially motivated is absolutely unfounded. The Ivy Room was closed to protect the health, safety and welfare of Hazel Park’s residents. The business has had a double homicide occur on its premises during operating hours and has a documented history of problems with residential neighbors and adjacent businesses. The City of Hazel Park has no further comment as this matter is pending before the Court.
Court records show that in August 2020, someone reported "a loud/annoying party with approximately 200 people arriving on the scene at approximately 1:30 a.m." Police officers noted that they were able to hear "loud music being played from a block away" and "..attendees carrying open liquor bottles, and very few attendees wearing PPE."
Moore said it's a venue and that her client is not selling alcohol.
"The host is able to provide alcohol to their patrons, like, your normal baby shower or wedding reception. No liquor license is required," said Moore.
Reed has two children who work in the venue that is leased property.
"I'm trying to hold in there, but it's hard because I still have to be responsible for the rent here," said Reed. "Then, when I get a (business license) revocation, I have to refund thousands of dollars to clients and disappoint my clients. So you can't have your baby shower tomorrow, like, it's devastating.
"I just hope that I get justice and I can continue to grow my business. I don't want to be a nuisance to the city or anything. Like, I literally follow every rule that they give me."