48 EXCLUSIVE: Huntsville City leaders revoke Wavaho store owner’s business license over crime reports

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 11:00 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The WAVAHO gas station on Pulaski Pike in Huntsville is closed for business for the foreseeable future.

City leaders revoked the business license of Albara, Inc. which ran the store, over criminal allegations. As a result, Albara, Inc. can no longer operate the Wavaho gas station.

Dante Townsend lives in a home less than half a mile from the station. He said he wasn’t shocked by the city’s response.

“It’s part of the environment,” said Townsend. “We ride by the WAVAHO. So we see the activity that goes on at the WAVAHO so them losing their licensing, it’s really not a big surprise.”

Townsend serves as a bishop at a local church. He said the area is rife with problems that come alive at night such as prostitution and selling drugs.

“We don’t have women walking up and down the street. But what we have is we have drug addicts that are willing to turn tricks to get a fix for the habit,” said Townsend.

Albara, Inc.’s attorney Glenmore Powers said the company isn’t going down without a fight. He believes the city is basing its decision on flawed facts.

“If a police officer who’s never done work there goes just for a couple of hours and makes a few arrests and says, ‘Oh, the places of public nuisance’, and I believe without putting up any witnesses, that the individuals that are listed, I have no way to cross-examine any witnesses. At this point. They didn’t even produce those witnesses.”

Townsend believes the real way to stop crime in the area would come from resources offered to those in need.

“From the outside looking in, it may look like that’s an area that’s really out of control,” said Townsend. “But for those people that live here, it’s home and there’s a lot of love. But we do have issues and concerns that need to be addressed.”

Powers said the business plans to appeal the city’s decision.

WAFF 48 reached out to the city of Huntsville, which is not making any further comments due to pending litigation.

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