2 Bars Have Licenses Suspended By City Beer Board

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - by Gail Perry

The beer licenses of two bars were suspended at the meeting of the Chattanooga Beer Board Thursday morning.

A bar check was made at 1 a.m. on Jan. 24 by the Chattanooga Police Department at La Bamba Mexican Restaurant, 5425 Highway 153. The location is zoned C-2 which requires restaurants and bars to close at 11 p.m. unless they obtain a special exemptions permit. Officer John Collins told the board that when he arrived beer was on tables and about five customers were still being served.

The restaurant has been in business 10 months. In the last two to three months, owner Andres Garcia said he had been trying to find the right person or agency to contact to apply for the exceptions permit. He came to the meeting with an armful of paperwork to document the various calls and emails he had made in the attempt. Officer Collins told the board that Bertha Lawrence, secretary of the beer board, had given Mr. Garcia a list of phone numbers with that information at the time he received his beer license.

Mr. Garcia said he had called those numbers and they all led back to Ms. Lawrence. He had also called or emailed various city officials, naming Ken Smith and Ken Fritz among others. He said he never received answers from some messages he left and replies came after two weeks to others. It was not until last week that he finally got in touch with Randy Ridge at the city’s zoning department who told him to apply through the planning agency.

In the meantime, Mr. Garcia said some of his customers wanted to stay later than 11 p.m. Every Thursday the bar has Karaoke night and the night of the bar check the business was open when police arrived. He said this was the first and only time he had stayed open later than the zoning permitted. Officer Collins said he had prior knowledge and “reasonable suspicion” about the business being open after hours on other nights and patrol officers had noticed cars in the parking lot but they had not gone inside.

Beer Board member Christopher Keene said that even though Mr. Garcia had made a good effort that he had violated the beer code and made a motion to suspend the license for three days starting next Thursday. The motion received a unanimous approval.

William Pritchett, owner of Paddy’s Bar & Grill at 5603 Hixson Pike, came to the meeting represented by Attorney Stan Lanzo. Another bar check made on March 10 by Officer Collins and other officials found two illegal poker machines and evidence of gambling in the form of gambling boards for various sporting events as well as $1,130. At the time, Mr. Pritchett was given a citation in lieu of arrest and the machines were seized.

This is the second violation for the same infraction that the bar was cited for in August, 2013. Officer Collins had received tips prior to the bar check from an undercover officer who saw the machines, and he said two separate complaints had come to him from the mayor’s office. 

Attorney Lanzo asked no questions and presented no evidence, saying that there was a criminal charge associated with the incident that is still pending and he would not allow Mr. Pritchett to testify. This latest violation received the punishment of suspending the beer license for 10 days beginning next Thursday.

Davesh Patel is the owner of three gas stations. He has been in business since 2008 and has received no violations for selling beer or cigarettes during that time, and said he made daily checks to all of his locations. He applied for and received a permit for the newest one doing business as Super Mart at 5924 Brainerd Road.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLISON, JEFFERY BERNARD  3401 CAMPBELL ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 50 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY BURGLARY VANDALISM/MALICIOUS MISCHIEF POSSESSION OF BURGLARY TOOLS RESISTING ARREST OR OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL PROCESS --- BEARDEN, CHRISTOPHER MARK  ... (click for more)

Severe Storms Pound Signal, Leaving Downed Trees And Damaged Homes In Their Wake

The massive columnar tree that crashed onto the roof of a Signal Mountain home during  Saturday’s  violent wind and thunderstorms is gone now, thanks to the joint efforts of Tree Worx and Timberlinks employees. But forecasters are predicting more severe weather during the coming week, noted Care Connections owner Chris Duggan, who is organizing and ... (click for more)

Whatever Happened To The People's Game Warden? - And Response

Earlier this year a Chattanoogan.com article published a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency  (TWRA) Wildlife Officer encouraging readers to turn in anyone keeping or caring for an orphaned raccoon, squirrel, bunny or deer, because it may have rabies or pose a danger to some fictitious person.   In another  article, the TWRA Officer invaded a girl's home, seized ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This May

Do you realize that despite the roar and rage of last night’s storm, we are four inches above normal in rainfall for the year? My garden is green and what’s more there are no drought conditions presently anywhere in all of the United States. Yes, April showers bring May flowers so I don’t know when my garden has been as blessed as I search out the orchids and onions of a brand-new ... (click for more)

Lee Baseball Wins 4-3 In Season Finale

 The Lee University baseball team recorded 14 hits in a 4-3, 10-inning win in its season finale at the University of West Florida. The Flames finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 27-23. With a 13-20 record in the Gulf South Conference, Lee placed ninth in the regular season, two games shy of eighth place and earning a spot in the GSC Tournament. “I’m ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: #8 Tennessee Softball Upends #1 Florida, 5-1

Megan Geer's fourth inning grand slam brought Tennessee back from a 1-0 deficit and the #8 Vols went on to defeat the #1 Florida Gators by a 5-1 margin. Winning pitcher Caylan Arnold pitched five innings in relief for the Volunteers giving up one hit, two base on balls and striking out five. Florida's Aleshia Ocasio went the distance, giving up eight hits, one base ... (click for more)