KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville bar has lost its beer permit after being issued a temporary suspension earlier this summer.
The Knox County Beer Board voted to permanently strip El Tequila Bar and Grill of its beer permit during a special session on Tuesday, August 22. The business will have an opportunity to appeal the decision in chancery court.
T. Scott Jones, an attorney who represents the bar, said the claims against the restaurant are “pure exaggeration.”
The meeting took over two hours. The meeting began with the testimony of Knox County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Tom Walker, who went through several incident reports that took place at or around the bar. Both Jones and the board members asked multiple questions clarifying the reports and gaining his insight. This testimony alone lasted an hour and twenty minutes.
Jones also objected to Walker’s testimony because Walker was not the responding officer to any of the incidents instead he was sharing summaries of the reports.
Following Walker’s testimony, the supervising manager at El Tequila took the stand. She was asked several questions about the reports that Walker shared. Next, the bar’s owner, Leopoldo Castaneda, was called to testify. He spoke about how he had cooperated with any law enforcement investigations and instructed his staff to do so as well. He also went through how the bar makes sure that people who were underage were not served and how they work to avoid overserving people.
When asked how many fights happened inside the bar, Castaneda and the manager said there was only one.
In a previous statement, Jones claimed the Knox County Beer Board only had but one choice to restore the restaurant’s beer permit. Jones described the claims against the restaurant as a reaction to hearsay and not actual evidence.
In June, the bar’s license was suspended for 60 days after KCSO reported El Tequila being in the middle of various incidents ranging from theft to vandalism and reported shootings.