Town hall held to discuss future of crime-ridden Z-Mart, Staff Zone properties

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 06:56:14-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Stabbings, shootings, and robberies. Over the years Metro Police officers have responded to thousands of violent crime calls at the Z-Mart and Staff Zone on Lafayette Street.

After the two businesses were padlocked neighbors learn what's next for the stores.

"We’re fighting for our lives, we all have jobs, we’re just trying to get our kids to school safely. How do we do that?"

Emotions were high Thursday night at the Church of the Messiah, people who live along Lafayette and Murfreesboro roads were told the future of a neighborhood nuisance could live to see another day.

In July of last year padlocks were placed on the doors of Z-Mart a convenience store and Staff Zone, a temporary staffing industry in south downtown Nashville.

"You have to deal with the violence, the drug activity; you have to deal with the sex trafficking, the prostitution," said resident Jameka Usher.

The District Attorney's office laid out new plans for the future of the space located on 20 and 24 Lafayette.

The men who operated the businesses Mohmed Abuhamra and Sameer Shohateewould be enjoined from operating a business or being on the property, but the owner of the properties, Husni Hassan will still be in control.

The Staff Zone location will be cleaned up and brought into compliance with all governmental standards. Any new tenant will avoid business that invite homeless or loiterers. The Court and DA’s office will approve new tenant.

As for Z-mart it will be also be cleaned up and all codes issues addressed. The store will be re-branded with national corporation Phillips 66 using there fuel product. Phillips 66 will conduct inspections of the property twice a year. New signs, logo and painting will be installed;

The business will be run by Mr. Hassan under a new LLC with his family members this will ensure that the owner Mr. Hassan is in control of his business; it will have licensed security guards on premises up to 10 hours daily, said guards will be insured and bonded. A family member will be present at all times the business is open to ensure compliance and smooth operation of the business;

  • A security company will be retained for the installation of security cameras on the business and these cameras will have recording capability for at least 20 days. The business will agrees to share this video with law enforcement in the event of any police investigations.
  • A report will be submitted to the Court and the DA’s office to show continuing compliance with these security measures;
  • Government inspectors are allowed to inspect for counterfeit merchandise;
  • The business with the use of security measures will take all reasonable measures to ensure persons do no loiter on the property. Signage will be used including the use of security officers to ensure no loitering or alcohol is consumed on the premises;
  • The business will submit semi-annual reports of known call’s for emergency service (police, fire, and medical services) to the Court and DA’ office. These reports will commence six months after the opening of these properties.
  • Any leases, subleases, or changes in ownership of these properties must be approved by the Court, and these safeguards will continue in place until further action of the Court.

"This does not release Mr. Hussan from the courts; this will stay in effect probably three, four, five years," said Deputy DA Ed Ryan.

The D.A.'s office says they don't have enough evidence to prove that the owner was aware of the previous criminal activity. Residents however, say they don't buy it and accuse him of owning several other businesses in the area that attract crime.

"But unfortunately, it moved down Lafayette to Murfreesboro Road, so it has never stopped it just moved to a different location," said usher.

The District Attorney's office says any breaches of the agreement or of the law will be swiftly addressed and Mr. Hassan brought back before the Court.