Bud's And The Electric Cowboy Facing Suspensions For Over-Serving Alcohol

Thursday, May 15, 2014 - by Gail Perry

Members of the Chattanooga Beer Board at the Thursday meeting were given a first-hand look at the importance of their job. Founder of 1N3, Tiki Finlayson told the board the name of the organization was derived from the fact that one in every three people are impacted by drunk drivers, and 1N3 strives to change that statistic.

She said her son was killed by a drunk driver in 2011. She made a choice to attempt to find a solution to the problem and chose to forgive the driver.

Together they now speak at schools and rehab centers in order to spread their message. The person who killed her son made a bad choice, she said and every choice matters. 

She cautioned the board to be careful of what witnesses say during a violation hearing. What employee would admit to a mistake that could lead to the loss of their job? She said to the board, and asked them to take that into consideration when listening to their testimony.

1N3 promotes a designated driver program and has asked the Electric Cowboy and Bud’s Sports Bar, both located on Brainerd Road to be part of it, but neither have given any indication that they would be involved. 

Both of these establishments were facing charges for over-serving at the Beer Board meeting. The driver who killed her son left from Bud’s at 5751 Brainerd Road. Ms Finlayson said that during the hearing for Bud’s that took place Thursday, board member Christopher Keene had commented that Bud’s had been in business for 35 years without a violation, would be able to spot a drunk and would call a taxi for impaired drivers. She said the one who killed her son was intoxicated and was allowed to leave. After leaving that night, the driver was so impaired that one of the passengers had gotten out of the car.

Testimony by bar employees from the night of the violation that occurred on Feb. 2, were very precise and coordinated when asked about the time that things occurred. “I find it ironic that the doorman was very specific about the time that the impaired customer left the bar that night,” yet could only estimate that he had seen him sitting in the parking lot about 30 minutes before driving away. At the hearing both the bartender and doorman said the customer had arrived that afternoon at 6 p.m. and left at 1:05 a.m. The night of the incident, Brandy Holtcamp, the bartender told Police Sergeant David Allen that the man left at 2 a.m. Both witnesses along with the manager testified they saw the man move around the bar and stand and talk without slurring words or stumbling. 

Based on what he was told that night and from the bar receipts that the customer had in his pockets, Sergeant Allen said charges were for 14 shots of vodka each served with a beer and two Long Island teas. The man was seen talking to two women in the bar and buying them drinks. Attorney Brent Jones representing Bud’s said there was no way to prove what the man drank himself. He also used the one-hour discrepancy between leaving Bud’s and being filmed by the police at 2:12 a.m. swerving while driving, to claim the man went elsewhere to drink during that time.

Board member Ron Smith commented that the time spent sitting in the parking lot took up most of the hour unaccounted for after leaving the premise and before he was stopped by the police. At that time he exhibited slurred speech and was unable to count backwards, walk along a straight line or balance on one foot which led the officer to arrest him for DUI. Results of the blood tests have not yet been received. 

Based on the discrepancies in timing, the board issued only a three-day suspension of the beer license that will begin in two weeks. A letter will also be sent to the ABC board notifying of the violation.

Sergeant Allen and a task force handed out another violation Feb. 2, to The Electric Cowboy, 5600 Brainerd Road, this too for over-serving. He found two men passed out in a truck in the parking lot with the engine running. When he approached, the man behind the wheel attempted to drive away and was arrested for DUI. The passenger was unable to open his door and his breathalyzer test registered .173 which is over twice the legal limit. He was given a free taxi ride home.

Their combined bar tab was $120 for 10 shots of tequila plus a beer each time. The bartender said they were also giving drinks to girls. The manager Jeff Bostic apologized and said the bartender and servers lost track of the men and went to the lot to find them to settle their bill. The doorman who should have checked their condition also missed it because to smoke, customers must go outside. These two just walked away. 

Andre Harriman said the allegations were severe and a breakdown occurred. He made a motion for a five day suspension starting May 29 and to send a letter sent to the ABC board. This motion was approved unanimously.

A third violation hearing took place for the owner of Memories, an event hall at 607 Tunnel Blvd. While responding to a complaint of shots fired on March 23, Sergeant John Collins found a table in use as a set-up bar with seven bottles of Moscato wine and 49 miniature bottles of vodka under the table. The party taking place had been advertised on a flyer as “a grown-up and sexy Moscato party.” 

The two party promoters, Jay Freeze and Jeff Spencer, known as Sir Tricky, were charging an entrance fee, then giving customers the alcohol. An event hall designation allows customers to bring their own liquor but it cannot be sold. At the May 1 beer board meeting it was determined that Spencer had violated the terms of the special gathering permit. On Thursday Dailphia Davis, owner of the building was reprimanded for the same infraction and told it counted as one strike against the club. If a second violation occurs within one year, the business cannot hold another event said Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman.

In preparation for Riverbend 2014 Chip Baker asked for and received a license to sell beer at the event June 6-14 from 3:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. each day. Beer will be sold by non-profit organizations at 16 locations at Ross’s Landing. Six locations were also approved for special events licenses for the Bessie Smith Strut all outdoors along E. MLK Boulevard. Beer will be sold at Roshanna’s Hair and Beauty Bar at 320 MLK, Maggie G’s at 400 MLK, The Bessie Smith Cultural Center at 200 MLK, Champy’s Fried Chicken at 526 MLK Jackson Motors Service at 622 MLK, and JJ’s Bohemia at 321 MLK. 

Christine Newman owner of Blackbeard Tattoo Co. at 29 Patten Parkway is holding a grand opening charity block party on May 31 from 4-9 p.m. The event is a benefit for The Wounded Warriors and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen was approved for a beer permit.

Phillip Grymes from Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga obtained a beer license for two events that will take place Memorial Day weekend when the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road Race and Time Trial will take place. A tent will be set up as a VIP area serving food and beer on Volkswagen Drive on May 44 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for the time trials. 

On May 26 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. a beer garden will be set up at Waterhouse Pavilion during the road race that will course through downtown, north Chattanooga, UTC and up and down Lookout Mountain.

Consumer beer licenses were granted to Pasha Coffee and Tea, 3914 St. Elmo Ave. that will be pairing beers with desserts and coffees. Also approved for a permit was Mexiville Mexican Restaurant at 809 Market St. and Mary’s at 2125 McCallie Ave.

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