A second brother in the Britt family is expected to enter a plea in federal court on accusations stemming from an investigation into cash payments at a number of college bars in Statesboro and Milledgeville.
The documents filed in federal court last month, however, reveal even more contradictions to the statements made under oath by Trey Britt and Will Britt, and even documents filed in court by the City of Statesboro based on statements previously made by the Britt brothers.
Charges Against Trey Britt
Federal prosecutors filed an Information Accusation against Eugene R. “Trey” Britt III on September 13, 2022, two weeks after his brother and former Statesboro City Councilman, Will Britt, was sentenced in federal court. The charges almost mirror those filed against the other Britt who entered a guilty plea in federal court in April 2022. In August, a federal judge sentenced Britt to serve 33 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release, and pay $350,000 in restitution.
For Trey Britt, the government’s accusation alleges Britt failed to report sources of income on his tax returns. The DOJ claims that “[f]or at least two decades, [Trey Britt] and others used this organizational structure to conduct business for businesses in the bar and restaurant industry. Accordingly, although it did not appear on paper that the Defendant owned or operated any bars or restaurants since at least 2010, he actually owned varying percentages in the establishments described above, among others.”
Specifically, Britt had ownership in Capital City and 119 Chops, Rude Rudy’s, Rum Runners, The Gin, and Title Town Nightlife LLC (Dillinger’s).
The Accusation references a company, BGRG Inc., a reported acronym for Big Goofy Restaurant Group. ‘Big Goofy’ has long been a nickname for Trey Britt.
Further, the Accusation alleges that Trey Britt:
- owned a majority interest in Capital City, Chops, and Rum Runners and controlled the distribution of cash from those three establishments.
- provided false information to a Sylvania accountant regarding cash distributions from Capital City, Chops, Rum Runners, Rude Rudy’s, The Gin, and Dillinger’s
- despite all of the cash collections, Trey Britt’s 2015 tax return showed a $127,290 loss
- also assisted in and derived income from the sale of beer at Music Festival 1.
- These sales involved cash only and the beer sales operation received fifty percent of the profit.
- Similar to the structure of the Britt’s bars and restaurants, Britt and others shared in the profits of the beer sales operation by skimming cash and disbursing it to themselves in accordance with their ownership percentages.
- Britt received at least 35% percent of the cash profits that the beer sales operation received.
In September 2022, a ‘Notice of a Plea Agreement’ was filed in the case file and a hearing was scheduled to accept Trey Britt’s guilty plea. That hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 19 and will effectively ‘dispose of the charge pending’ against Britt without any further court action.
On September 13, 2022, prosecutors filed the following Notice of Penalty for Trey Britt:
Direct Contradictions to Previous Statements Made Under Oath
Like his brother’s case, Trey Britt’s guilty plea is a direct contradiction to statements made between 2014 and 2018, during which period both Will and Trey Britt “denied under oath that they ever had a financial interest in or otherwise provided any financial backing to Rum Runners…”
In a 2016 Memorandum of Law against the City of Statesboro by the family of Michael Gatto in a lawsuit after his death, attorneys for the City of Statesboro denied any sort of liability in the death of Gatto, which occurred in the University Plaza parking lot, in part because the Britts had no ownership in the bars, as the Gattos alleged.
The document goes on:
“Will and Trey Britt were asked about a recent FBI raid, and both invoked their 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when asked whether ‘documents or other records obtained by the FBI in that search show indications of your having financial interest in one or more businesses at University Plaza during the year 2014.’ (SMF 108) However, Will Britt denied, and did not invoke the 5th Amendment, when asked if he owned either Rude Rudy’s or Rum Runners…”
“While Plaintiffs have speculated that Will or Trey Britt may have had some secret interest in Rum Runners or Rude Rudy’s, they denied as much…”
The City denied having any responsibility for the circumstances that facilitated the University Plaza environment, going as far as to create a loophole if the Britts had been untruthful under oath. “Even if Mr. Britt had some secret undisclosed interest in Rum Runners or even Rude Rudy’s” the city was not responsible for the bars, it said.
Much of the Gatto lawsuit relied on the actions of Will and Trey Britt, which meant most of the city’s defense relied on distinguishing between ‘City Councilman Will Britt’ and ‘Will Britt and his brother, Trey Britt.’
“No adverse inference can be drawn against the City because neither Will Britt nor Trey Britt is a party to this action. But even if the Court were to consider drawing any alleged adverse interference in ruling on summary judgment, it would not support an argument that Will or Trey Britt held an interest in any of the University Plaza Establishments.”
Finally, the City of Statesboro argued that “speculation as to the ownership of various establishments or what Will Britt may have been doing in “counting money” is inadmissible hearsay.
A trial court judge, an appellate court judge, and the Georgia Supreme Court all ruled against the Gatto family over a period of eight years.