Charges against Fremont Internet cafes dropped

FREMONT, OH (WTOL) - The city of Fremont has dismissed all 28 charges filed against three Internet cafes after the businesses were raided and shut down in January, accused of illegal gambling.

"It gives us all time to come together and talk and try to reach a compromise and resolution between everybody. It's not saying anything about the status of our case, and how we feel about our case," said Jim Melle, City of Fremont Law Director.

Melle said after studying how other Ohio cities handled Internet cafes, the city of Fremont decided dismissing the charges against the three Internet cafes would be the best option.  Melle will present a plan to regulate the Internet cafes to Fremont City Council.

"We are going to try to do that locally, if we can. We don't really want to want on the state, because it's been pending so long for the state. We don't know when they're going to act on it, and we need to try to resolve the matter here in Fremont," said Melle.

The dismissal of charges gives the city 60 days to re-file, if pending matters are not resolved.  The owner of the Player's Club Internet café filed a lawsuit against the city after his business was shutdown. Melle said that lawsuit must be dropped as part of the resolution.

Robert Dabbish, owner of the Player's Club, would not comment if he intends to drop that lawsuit.

"We are happy that the city dropped charges and are excited to work with them on a resolution that benefits both parties," said Dabbish.

Melle said he is hopeful the pending issues will be resolved and Fremont City can agree on regulations for the businesses.  He is optimistic the Internet cafes will re-open in Fremont.

"I'm hoping that the businesses that are not active right now, would consider coming back and doing the Internet cafes, under the new regulator scheme," said Melle.

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