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Council denies pawnbroker’s license; plans revisions to city pawnshop ordinance

Councilman Bill Sheckles makes a point during a discussion Tuesday about the city’s pawnbroker ordinance after the council voted to deny a pawnbroker license sought by Scott W. Thurman.

 

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 — At a special-called noontime meeting Tuesday, the Bardstown City Council voted to deny an application for a pawnbroker’s license sought by Scott W. Thurman of Bardstown.

The council had tabled Thurman’s application at its meeting last week with the intent to consider it Tuesday. The delay was to give the council time to review the application.

Scott Thurman answers questions posed by members of the Bardstown City Council during Tuesday’s special-called meeting.

After a review of the applicant’s background check and Councilman John Kelley’s search of court records, the council voted 3-2 to deny Thurman’s application for the license.

Mayor Dick Heaton asked Thurman about his background check, which indicated that Thurman had been charged in 2003 and 2006 for passing cold checks under $300.

Thurman said back then “it was hard times … with family and struggling. We’re in a much better place now than then.”

Thurman cited his lengthy background working for local pawnshops, including Kwik Kash Pawn & Gun, and Bourbon City Pawn. “I’m well versed at how to run a pawn shop,” he said.

But Councilman John Kelley made it clear that the city’s ordinance governing pawn shops made it clear that Thurman wasn’t qualified to hold a pawnbroker’s license due to court cases he was involved in that were in addition to the cold check charges.

The city’s ordinance under Chapter 110.03 states that

No license shall be granted by the City Council to any person to operate the business of a pawn broker unless such person has, in the opinion of the Council, a good general reputation in the city from what people generally say about him, for honesty and fair dealing. No license shall be granted to a person who has been convicted of a felony or convicted of a misdemeanor dealing with the subject of larceny or obtaining money under false pretense.

Councilman David Dones listens to discussion during Tuesday’s special council meeting.

Kelley said the two bad checks that turned up in his background check were an issue given the ordinance’s prohibiting a license to anyone convicted of larceny or obtaining money under false pretense.

“The cold checks fit that like a hand in glove,” he said. Additionally, Kelley’s own review of local court records turned up a third cold check charge in 2004, and small claims judgments against Thurman from the late 1990s up to about 2004.

“Those were all taken care of immediately,” Thurman explained.

Kelley said he understood that, but he was trying to follow the city pawnbroker ordinance that requires the council to evaluate the applicants reputation “for honesty, fair dealing and good reputation.”

Kelley told Thurman that he may have turned his life around regarding the earlier court cases and cold checks, but as a member of the council, he had to follow the city ordinance, which prohibited granting a pawnbroker’s license to “a person who has been convicted of a felony or convicted of a misdemeanor dealing with the subject of larceny or obtaining money under false pretense.”

“I can’t vote for that application because it that,” Kelley explained. “The only way I could vote for it is to ignore that ordinance, or the ordinance is changed in the future.”

Councilman Bill Sheckles said he believed in giving people second chances. “It’s hard for me not to vote for someone who is trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Councilman Joe Buckman looks at documents on his council member iPad during Tuesday’s special-called meeting.

Sheckles made a motion to approve Thurman’s pawnbroker license application, but it failed by a 3-2 vote. Councilmen Kelley, Joe Buckman and David Dones voted against approval, while Sheckles and Councilwoman Kecia Copeland voted to approve.

The council next voted 3-2 to deny the application. Buckman and Dones both agreed that the existing ordinance required them both to uphold the city’s ordinance.

PAWNBROKER ORDINANCE CHANGES. Following the vote to deny Thurman’s application, the council held lengthy discussion about making changes to the pawnbroker ordinance. The council agreed that a revised ordinance would require pawnbrokers to have a bond, and that the look-back period for the background check would be limited to five years.

A draft pawnbroker ordinance will be presented to the council at an upcoming meeting.

NEXT UP. The Bardstown City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

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