Skyzoo Gets Suspensions After Surprise Visit By Inspectors At “Naughty Cupid Party”

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - by Gail Perry

A joint inspection by the Chattanooga Police Department, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Health Department revealed multiple violations at Skyzoo at 5709 Lee Highway, members of the City Beer Board were told Thursday.

The different agencies arrived at the bar around 11:30 p.m. the night of Friday, Feb. 8, with four officers to conduct a bar inspection, three ABC inspectors to conduct a yearly renewal inspection for a liquor license, and an inspector to do a Health Department check.

Prior to this night, City Councilwoman Carol Berz had received an email complaint about the establishment’s website, which she forwarded to the Police Department.

The bar had been advertising a “Naughty Cupid Party” for ages 18-20 and encouraged females to wear lingerie. There was no specific area designated for the under 21 age customers. Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins described the front area as being semi-well lit, and the dance floor with a DJ, strobe lights and girls dancing on the bar, very crowded and dark which made it difficult to see people. After his arrival, some people began leaving. “I have a reputation of ending a party” he commented.

Officer Collins arrested one underage male. He then noticed a highly intoxicated girl in a corner with big black X’s on her hands, which is the system the bar uses to indicate underage. She had no ID, was having trouble standing, and had very little clothing on. She was taken to the kitchen for questioning, where she told Officer Collins that she had had been drinking in the club and had heen served several “fruity drinks” by a male bartender. An initial breath-a-lizer test registered 2.5 with a second one showing 2.7. She was arrested and transported to the Hamilton County Jail. While there she asked Officer Collins why she had been singled out because all her other underage friends were also there drinking.

The male arrested, who was also a minor, told police that in the two hours he had been in the bar he had not been drinking there, but had arrived drunk. He was in possession of the ID of the girl who was being booked. An ambulance was called for a third extremely intoxicated male who was unable to stand and who fell on the floor throwing up.

In the meantime, Sergeant Mark Haskins was checking credentials of the security officers, one of which did not have a license, but did have a poor attitude as did the owner, he said. He testified there was a security guard at the front door along with someone selling tickets. There was also a guard on the deck and, according to the owner, Leonardo Dacoregio, there was someone walking around outside checking the parking lot.

The beer code specifies that no one is allowed to come into a bar who is intoxicated, and an intoxicated individual cannot be served alcohol. Questions posed to Mr. Dacoregio were: why the front door man allowed the underage and intoxicated couple in, and why did the bartender serve alcohol to both them and the male that was sent to the hospital. In reply, he claimed that of the 299 capacity those were only three people in the bar that were intoxicated and that it was impossible for any club to make sure 18-year -lds are not drinking.

After his testimony, Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman questioned Mr. Dacoregio for clarification. First, neither you nor your security people were aware of anyone being intoxicated until the police arrived? Also, were there only three intoxicated people there that night? And prior to this night, you say that there have never been any intoxicated people in your establishment before? In reply, Mr. Dacoregio answered yes to all questions. This lead board member Andre’ Harriman to suggest that the 14,000-square-foot club was beyond his scope to manage. Kevin McKenna said that he looked at the facts concerning the violations. The laws are in place to keep people safe there and on the street. He said is a fact that “he’s not running an establishment that’s safe for the community.”

During the inspections, Officer Collins was also made aware of a large quantity of trash that had accumulated around the club's dumpster and the fence behind the building. This, too, is a violation of the beer code. Mr. Decoregio claimed that the garbage service truck spilled the bar debris when the dumpster was being emptied and he left it scattered about from Wednesday until Friday for proof. Despite the explanation, it is his responsibility to keep the area clean and a penalty was issued for a three-day suspension of his beer license beginning Feb. 28 through March 2.

Concerning the underage charge, a motion was made to suspend the beer license for 10 days immediately following the one issued for littering and will begin on March 3. The motion passed with five members voting to approve and only Ed Townson voting no.

At the meeting, applications for a beer license were made by a catering business, three restaurants and two convenience stores. Lemont’s Catering at 801 Dodds Avenue has been in business 22 years, and in addition to his restaurant, does off-site catering for up to 60 people. He was unanimously approved for a permit to serve beer.

The Family Market at 5601 Saint Elmo Avenue and Kangaroo Express #3607 at 6239 Highway 58, both convenience stores, were issued permits to sell beer.

Two special event licenses were approved, one for “Fork and Gavel” an annual fundraiser and silent auction benefitting Normal Park Museum Magnet PTA. It will be held March 2 at Warehouse Row from 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m. “Taste,”  being organized by Chattanooga Presents, is a fundraising event for the Kidney Foundation, with 20 locally-owned restaurants providing food and a chef’s competition using a secret ingredient to create an appetizer. This will be held at Stratton Hall on Broad Street from 5 p.m.-9p.m., March 7.

As the Wrecker Board, Doug Yates towing was issued a license to operate another recovery business to be known as Yates Towing and Recovery. This new business is located next door to the original company. Officer Collins said he had inspected all the equipment and confirmed that there were doubles of everything and that Mr. Yates had exceeded the requirements, training classes and certificates to get another license. Attorney Reisman stated that now Mr. Yates will be eligible to be put on the rotation list twice. His original business owns contracts to service wrecks for a number of trucking companies. Mr. Reisman said that these contracts must be specific to a particular company.

 


Derrick Richardson Says He Was Wrongly Convicted Of Murder 24 Years Ago

Derrick Richardson, 45, says he was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder in 1992. He testified in Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom at a hearing on Monday. Police reports from December 8, 1991 describe the death of Louie F. Dwight, 39, who was found in his truck at 1903 Roanoke Avenue. They said he had suffered three gunshot wounds to his legs. He was transported to Erlanger ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed Twice During Altercation With Another Woman On Woodside Street

A woman was stabbed twice in an altercation with another woman outside a house on Woodside Street on Tuesday afternoon. The Chattanooga Police Department was notified by a local hospital that a female had arrived suffering from stab wounds to the neck and shoulder. The injuries are reported to be non-life threatening.  The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Investigators ... (click for more)

Expand Broadband Internet, Not The Size Of Government

I’d like to respond to two letters in your July 13 edition that praised Rep. Mike Carter’s efforts to expand statewide broadband access. Rep. Carter wants more government involvement in the broadband sector, including an expansion of taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband networks.  Rep. Carter’s supporters argued he’s standing up for consumers against huge telecommunications ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Keep Mike Carter’s Genius

Mike Carter, who has just been chosen as the “Best Overall” member of the Tennessee Legislature by a group known as the Tennessee Forum and “Legislator of the Year” by Citizens for Home Rule, is truly both. A lawyer and then a Sessions Court judge for 8 ½ years, he is overwhelmingly favored to win a third term during next Thursday’s election and rightly so. While it is laudable ... (click for more)

Dunbar Promoted To Head Wrestling Job At Ooltewah

J.D. Dunbar had been promoted to head wrestling coach at Ooltewah High School. Dunbar, an assistant with the Owls’ mat program since 2012, becomes a head coach for the first time at the high school level. He replaces Bryant Blackmon, who recently resigned. The 36-year-old Dunbar is also the school’s strength and conditioning coach and assistant head football coach on ... (click for more)

Another Big Week For Chattanooga Football Club

More than 10,000 fans gathered at Finley Stadium last Saturday to see a 5-3 penalty kick win over Miami United.   CFC keeper Gregga Hartley made a save and scored the winning penalty kick, helping his team to advance to the national semifinals on Saturday.  They will host Sonoma County Sol at 7:30 in the comfy confines of "Fort Finley"  Chattanooga is the top ... (click for more)