GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Military members may face disciplinary action if they dine at a downtown Goldsboro restaurant.
Torero’s Mexican Restaurant is the newest addition to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base’s list of off-limits establishments. Base administrators posted an announcement on Facebook this week following a military memorandum issued to all personnel.
The post said in part:
In recent years, there have been numerous reported incidents of crime, and in some cases violence, associated with Toreros Restaurant in downtown Goldsboro. An individual closely associated with the restaurant has been connected to alleged incidents that recently put an Air Force family member in harm’s way.
Seymour Johnson public affairs specialist Robert Kern said the off-limits list is maintained in accordance with Air Force policy and directives. Violators can be punished according to Uniform Code of Military Justice. Air Force Commander Col. Christopher Sage said in his order that areas on the list “adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, and morale of Armed Forces personnel.”
A shift supervisor at Torero’s referred all questions to his boss, who was out of town. The local chain has four other locations in Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. The manager said by phone that an attorney would call CBS North Carolina to answer questions, but no response had been provided as of Thursday evening.
Torero’s is the fifth business on the Goldsboro-area off-limits list. Three of the list members are no longer in business.
Sid’s Showgirls and the Playground Nightclub next door landed on the list a few years ago. Goldsboro Police asked the North Carolina Alcohol and Beverage Commission to revoke the liquor licenses for the two neighboring storefronts following a July 2015 shooting at Sid’s. That did not happen, but the clubs closed and ABC records show a cancellation of Sid’s license in June 2017.
Lydia’s Alterations closed around the same time the Air Force named it as an off-limits establishment in January 2016. The shop is very close to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Its parking lot is within view of the main gate. A federal grand jury indicted the owner, Kathy Battle, in September 2015 on charges of theft of government monies, obstruction of agency proceedings, and falsification of documents in connection with a federal investigation.
The Air Force hired Battle to tailor uniforms for airmen preparing to deploy overseas. Investigators said she had the account numbers for two government purchase cards which she charged for more than $230,000 with no records of invoices. The indictment indicates Battle had authorization to make individual charges of up to $3,000. Records show she made dozens of transactions of $2,999.99 or lesser amounts.
The other business on the off-limits list is Black Dragon Smoke Shop near the Oak Forest Road Gate. It advertises smoking accessories, gold, and jewelry.
Kern, a spokesperson for base, said businesses can file a petition for removal from the off-limits establishment list. Kern said officials periodically assess if businesses have taken action required to address the concerns.
Wayne County Chamber of Commerce President Kate Daniels said she wants to help businesses resolve any issues with the military community.
“You don’t want to be on any list that is deemed not good to the military,” Daniels said.
“Businesses that are being proactive about getting off that list, the chamber is here to support any positive action with a business, making corrective steps if they have a need to be changed or need to be better.”
She said the list is not reflective of the overall relationship between Goldsboro businesses and the military, and pointed to a 2016 recognition of Goldsboro as one of 10 Great American Defense Communities. The chamber launched a military affairs program in the 1960s. There are currently 165 active members of the military affairs committee, and Daniels said the group launched a military discount program a few years ago.
“We’re all working together. We all want to support one another, and be able to bring great quality of life and expand on that,” she said.
Fort Bragg’s off-limits list includes 19 businesses, a swim area, and any store selling synthetic drugs such as spice or bath salts. Camp Lejeune bans 19 businesses, and the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point has 14 no-go sites.
A complete list of locations banned by Seymour Johnson officials is available here