Last Place on Earth to Remain Closed for Another Month

By KBJR News 1

August 20, 2013 Updated Aug 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth's controversial Last Place on Earth will remain closed for at least another month as attorneys prepare their closing arguments.

Two days of witness testimony wrapped up in St. Louis County Court this afternoon. Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge Shaun Floerke has asked that written closing statements must be submitted by attorneys by September 3rd.

After that, Judge Floerke has until September 17th to reply and make his final judgement. The city of Duluth is hoping to keep the Last Place on Earth closed for another year to counteract what it says has been a significant problem in the downtown area.

"Where we were a month ago three months ago was not a good place and to get back to the way the city should be and to remember and present that evidence was key," says Gunner Johnson, Duluth City Attorney.

The city built its case against Carlson saying his operation, is a public nuisance and the city is much better off without the shop.

"Calls to the hospital have gone down substantially. We've heard from police officers that crime has gone down substantially, we've heard from business owners who are very pleased to see businesses going up," says Daniel Fanning of the Duluth mayor's office.

Carlson received a notice of nuisance on May 7th.
But according to his attorney, there's no evidence to support it.

"They have absolutely no evidence of a sale of a controlled substance thirty days after the date of the notice which is what the law requires, so there's no question, they did not prove the statutory nuisance."

City Attorney Johnson says not only is Last Place on Earth a public
nuisance but Carlson's operation is riddled with illegal activity.

"The city has established that there have been four illegal drug sales coming out of the Last Place on Earth since March including the most recent illegal drug sale was on May 17th of this year."

Carlson did not admit to illegal activity and said synthetics are often blamed for incidents in which they played no role.

"They've gone into either the hospitals or jail facilities on other illegal product ...blaming it on my product just because then they think it's legal and they're not going to get in trouble."

Carlson's federal trial will begin September 16th in the Twin Cities.
He faces up to 9 – hundred years in prison if convicted on all the counts in the federal indictment.

Once this case is over, owner of the Last Place on Earth Jim Carlson will be headed to court yet again on September 16th for the federal case against him. He faces 55 charges with his son, girlfriend and a former shop employee.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware