City of Savannah temporarily closes business for lack of license

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s been advertised as a large event space for weddings and parties but now the Grant Ballroom is closed. The city of Savannah closed the place last week saying it didn’t have a business license or a certificate of occupancy.

Shemika Simmons was a client a little less than two months ago. “I still have yet to get my deposit back,” she told me as we met outside the business on Savannah’s southside.

Simmons says her event was held but there was a lot of confusion in getting it organized and at the last minute. She was so dissatisfied she sought a meeting with a woman who is reportedly one of the owners, known to her as Cassandra Guerrier and also Cassandra McAllister. But Simmons says she could never get a face to face.

“Because she didn’t respond to me and because I was trying to work things out with her, it really prompted me to check with the city of Savannah about her and the Better Business Bureau and looked her up and they didn’t know what the Grant Ballroom was,” Simmons told me.

She provided us with some forms she had received through a Freedom of Information request. In one, Cassandra Guerrier appears to be applying for a business (at the ballroom address on Abercorn) that indicates it is an event planning or party planning business not necessarily a business that hosts large events.

Last week a letter from the city’s code compliance officer indicated the Grant Ballroom was being temporarily closed.

A statement from Savannah Police Department Thursday said this:

“Cassandra Guerrier was arrested by SPD on January 23 for probation violation. She was also cited for violations pertaining to the selling of alcohol by our Alcohol Beverage Compliance Unit.

The business operating at this location has failed to obtain the required business tax certificate from the Department of Revenue and is operating without a Certificate of Occupancy suitable for the current use of the property. The Code Official of the City of Savannah hereby orders the business operations on this property cease until a new Certificate of Occupancy has been granted by the Building Official and a business tax certificate has been obtained from the Department of Revenue.”

We found information indicating that Cassandra McAllister is being held in the Chatham County jail on a probation violation charge and that she has some past fraud-related charges.

Simmons remains concerned about her case and other clients. “I found others that came behind me and paid for events to have events here and their events didn’t go well or go off at all.”

She also told us she’s worried that others have paid for events planned for down the road that may now not take place. “From what I’ve learned people have already paid for their weddings, they have paid for award banquets and for different events here,” said Simmons.

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