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Columbia bar owner faces closure

COLUMBIA (AP) — The owner of a Columbia nightclub that the sheriff says is a hangout for gang members says he could be forced to close.

Justin Kershner of The Library nightclub says he was told by the state revenue department that he must pay $18,000 in back taxes by 2 p.m. Friday or give up his permits to sell beer, wine and liquor.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said earlier this week that The Library is a hangout for a national criminal street gang.

Kershner said he does not have the money.

“What I’m going to do is lose my business,” Kershner said. “I’ll be homeless in a week.”

Lott says a gang he did not name has made the Five Points area in Columbia its territory and is responsible for much of the violence in the area in the past few years.

If the bar is closed Friday, then the Five Points atmosphere could change overnight, Lott said.

Kershner denied his club is a gang hangout. The Library is being targeted because it is the only club in Five Points that welcomes a young, black crowd, he said.

Lott denies that assertion.

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