Lubbock Bar Closes Less Than a Month After TABC Investigation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/7/07

Lubbock Bar Closes Less Than a Month After TABC Investigation

A Lubbock bar is now closed, less than a month after a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission investigation. The Copa Club on East 4th Street was charging customers for top-shelf liquor but pouring bottom-shelf sprits and evading alcohol taxes. However, the owner claims he did not know that was taking place.

In May, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission received a tip about alleged violations at the Copa Club in Northeast Lubbock.

"They were going the cheap route and taking stuff in plastic bottles and pouring it to a nice glass bottle with a good label and selling that to customers," TABC Sergeant Michael Lockhart said.

Copa Club owner Arthur Reynolds tells NewsChannel 11 he had no idea, "I found out when the TABC did."

TABC seized nearly 300 cans and bottles of beer, almost 20 bottles of alcohol and 2 bottles of champagne. Sergeant Lockhart says some were improperly purchased.

"The beer they were purchasing they were buying from another retailer, it wasn't coming from a distributor as required," says Lockhart.

However, Reynolds says he was not aware of it. "My manager ran it and she's my mother-in-law while I was working to support my kids," he says.

Lockhart says the tax stamps on those bottles were also never mutilated, as required by law. 

"That way it tells us, okay here is an empty bottle with a mutilated stamp and the next bottle they buy they'll pay the taxes on it," Lockhart adds.

Sgt. Lockhart also tells us these types of violations are rare to see in Lubbock.

According to the TABC, the Copa Club's drink promotions were also running too long and violating the law, all together making four violations, making it difficult for the club to stay open. 

NewsChannel 11 is told the owners chose to close the club when the violations were found. Sergeant Lockhart says the club's alcohol permit was about to expire near the same time the violations were found. Since the TABC would not have renewed that permit, the club chose to close.

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