Beer Board Gives Penalties While Catching Up On Batch Of Cases

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - by Gail Perry

Hearings for violations of the Chattanooga beer code were put on hold last year due to the difficulties caused by remote meetings of the beer board during the COVID pandemic. Beer Inspector Officer John Collins with the Chattanooga Police Department told the City Beer Board on Thursday that prior to the pandemic cases were brought to the board in a timely manor and now he is trying to get caught up. That is the reason some of the violations occurred over a year ago.

 

Five violations for serving beer to customers who were underage occurred at the Cheesecake Factory, 2084 Hamilton Place Blvd., from May 2020 through June 2021. They were all heard as one at the Beer Board meeting. All the violations stemmed from compliance checks made by the TABC (Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission) which issues its own penalties after which the cases are referred to the Beer Board. Agent Travis Patten with the TABC told the board that the first violation, which occurred on May 28, 2020, and the second, which occurred on Aug. 18, 2020, were both for take-out orders. The third violation on Oct. 27, 2020, was a dine-in violation and the fourth and fifth, that took place on Jan. 22, 2021, were customers sitting at the bar. A fifth compliance check was made at the restaurant in 2020 where no violation was found.

 

Some of the servers involved in the illegal sales checked Id's and some did not and one server did not have a permit to sell alcohol, and one was a senior manager.

 

Attorney Brant Phillips, representing Cheesecake Factory, told the board that he was at the meeting to say “I’m sorry,” and that both he and the company are embarrassed. There are 12 locations across Tennessee and this is the first time for a violation. “We had a serious breakdown,” he said. All servers involved were terminated and the manager was put through remedial training and placed on probation. The business agreed to a 30-day suspension, to pay a fine of $10,000 to the state and to a probation period of 180 days. And all front house staff at this location is going through remedial TABC training.

 

The Beer Board must mirror the 30-day suspension of the TABC suspension that will begin on Aug. 16 and will run concurrently with the TABC suspension.

 

Alex Thai Food & Sushi Bistro, 26 E. Main St., also had violations for serving minors on two occasions, the first on Nov. 18, 2020, and the second on April 30, 2021. Agent Patten told the board that at one of the compliance checks, the server had no permit to sell alcohol and at the second the underage sale took place even though the ID was checked. Both were at curbside to-go sales which has been allowed by executive order from the governor because of COVID. The penalties given by TABC were to suspend the license for five days and fines of $650 for the November offense and $5,150 for the second violation on April 30. The Beer Board has to give the same suspension as the TABC, which will be for five days beginning Monday, June 28.

 

Alan Gold’s, 1100 McCallie Ave., was at the board meeting for violation of overcrowding that happened Feb. 22, 2020. Officer Collins was conducting a bar check around 12:45 p.m. when he said the crowd appeared too large for the capacity given by the fire marshal, which was 201 individuals. The officer ordered a “bar dump,” which is to empty the building. A clicker was used to count people leaving, which registered 324. After the incident, he said he suggested the owner contact the fire marshal to increase capacity, which was later revised to the current 251. He also suggested hiring a private security officer for the front door and using two clickers, one for those entering and another for those leaving to get an accurate count.

 

Officer Collins has been back to the bar twice since that night and there was no overcrowding. Although the manager did take corrective action, attorney Foster recommended not looking at mitigation that was done to determine the penalty. The board voted to give a three-day suspension of the beer license or to pay a $500 fine. If the suspension is chosen, it will begin July 1.

 

Doc Holiday’s Bar and Grill, 742 Ashland Terrace, was at the Beer Board for the fourth time since November 2019 when it received a letter of reprimand for allowing a server to consume alcohol while at the place she worked. The same violation for an incident on December 2019 was dismissed and a 10-day suspension was given for an intoxicated employee on Feb. 9, 2020.

 

The case before the board on Thursday was because a customer called the police to report that Raulston Lamar Combs, the owner, was at the bar and was intoxicated. Patrol Officer Jacob Simpson was dispatched to the location for the fifth time. He told the board that this is an on-going problem.  Three of those calls were specifically for Mr. Combs being intoxicated, and he said that every time he had done a bar check, he found the owner under the influence. His answer is always that “I drink at home and then come to check on the bar.”

"He always tells me that he is drinking ice water," said Officer Simpson, "and one time I smelled the glass when he left it, and it was not water." Officer Simpson is also trained to detect intoxication  by observation to determine the condition of a person, he told the board. On all five calls he has made to the bar, he said the owner was under the influence.

 

He has not done a sobriety test before the owner leaves, however, because the man always leaves with a friend driving. But he has no way of knowing how he gets there. There were two charges on Thursday, an employee/owner drinking on the premise of where they work and being intoxicated on the premise.

 

Some discussion occurred about the officer arriving with a pre-conceived notion of what he expected to find. And there was stronger evidence and more documentation for the prior four cases than the one that the board was hearing for the March 25 incident. Officer Collins replied that Officer Simpson had been dispatched specifically because the owner was under the influence. He also has been trained with observational skills to determine a person’s condition. Mr. Combs had also been given five warnings and the opportunity to conform to the laws.

 

The motion passed to issue a 10-day suspension of the beer license for Doc Holiday’s that will start on July 1.

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

18-Year-Old Receives 85 Years For Armed Robbery, Gang Activity At Dalton

Random Act Of Violence In Dalton Leads To 25 Year Prison Sentence


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BARRIOS, BENCION 1718 S CREST MANOR LAN CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ... (click for more)

Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Frid, ay sentenced Alexandro Agapito Perez-Lucas, 18, formerly of 1106 Nelson St., Dalton, to serve a total of 85 years in prison with the ... (click for more)

Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Friday sentenced Christopher Lamont Swanson, Jr., 35, formerly of 203 Jordan St., Tunnel Hill, to serve a total of 25 years in prison, the ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BARRIOS, BENCION 1718 S CREST MANOR LAN CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE IN SCHEDULE II --- BATTEN, KRISTEN LEIGH 8315 LADY SLIPPER RD CHATTANOGA, 37421 Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE FAILURE ... (click for more)

18-Year-Old Receives 85 Years For Armed Robbery, Gang Activity At Dalton

Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Frid, ay sentenced Alexandro Agapito Perez-Lucas, 18, formerly of 1106 Nelson St., Dalton, to serve a total of 85 years in prison with the first 20 years to be served without the possibility of parole. Perez-Lucas was convicted by a Whitfield County jury on July 2 following a three-day trial of armed robbery, false imprisonment, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Can The Braves Moniker Be Saved?

Since 1912 the predecessors of the current Atlanta baseball team have been called the “Braves” in Boston and Milwaukee prior to arriving at the Georgia capital in 1966. Although the keeping of the image of an Indian is in danger, the main opposition is not that of Native Americans, but are primarily both political activists and also dedicated supporters of a great Hall of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Hurray for the weekly edition of The Saturday Funnies but as we put together this week’s quiz, it dawned on us that there is just one more edition before our children resume classes. We hope the weekly quiz we added this summer has been a fun part of Saturday’s giggles. We do not actually write The Funnies. They are spawned by the funny emails we get each week from our Internet ... (click for more)

Sports

'Bulldog' Mack Comes Home, Thrills Fans As Member Of World Famous Globetrotters

The point guard took the tip-off, but didn’t dribble the ball up court while calling out a set. Instead, he did his best impression of 1997 Peyton Manning, and fired a strike to a teammate downcourt, As a thrilled audience looked on, the recipient flipped it to “Bulldog,” who cocked back his arm and detonated on the rim. Chandler “Bulldog” Mack was home………by some measure, ... (click for more)

Heartbreaking Defeat: Lookouts Lose Fourth Straight

The Chattanooga Lookouts came into Friday night’s game with the Birmingham Barons on a three-game losing streak, dropping those games by not-so-close scores of 3-0, 17-9 and 10-5. A fourth straight defeat was much closer. For all practical purposes, the Lookouts should have won before 4,615 fans, but unfortunately, close doesn’t count in AA baseball. The Barons took over first ... (click for more)