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Final Lap tavern owner in Hawkins fined $1,000

Jeff Bobo • Jul 9, 2010 at 12:08 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The owner of the The Final Lap tavern in Mooresburg was fined $1,000 by the Hawkins County Commission’s Beer Board during a short meeting Thursday.

The fine was part of an agreement reached between County Attorney Jim Phillips and attorney Edward Sempkowski representing bar owner David Ray Miller.

At the opening of Thursday’s Beer Board meeting, Phillips took the board into a private attorney client session. Upon the board’s return, the fine was announced.

As part of the agreement Miller, 62, 9945 Highway 11-W, Mooresburg, admits that he violated the terms of his beer permit by being arrested, and subsequently pleading guilty, to public intoxication twice in separate incidents at the tavern.

In November 2008 while the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office was investigating an alleged stabbing at the bar, Miller was charged with public intoxication after police questioned him outside the bar.

Miller was arrested for public intoxication again at the bar in June 2009 while deputies were responding to a complaint of loud music from neighbors.

Other complaints listed against the tavern include fights that have resulted in serous injuries and the arrest of bar patrons, and loud music.

In a letter submitted by Sempkowski to Phillips, Sempkowski states there were mitigating circumstances regarding “physical assaults.”

In two cases specified, Sempkowski points out that following the assaults the assailants were escorted out of the bar by employees, and in one case employees called for medical aid for a victim.

To address loud music, Miller has stopped hiring live bands and uses DJs so the volume can be controlled.

Miller has also rearranged tables and seating to accommodate fewer patrons, and limits occupancy to 75 instead of 150.

There is also signage posted warning customers about fighting, as well as a “gatekeeper” checking I.D., checking to see if a person is drunk, if someone is trying to sneak in liquor, or is on the banned list.

Patrons who are asked to leave for inappropriate behavior are now banned for 30 days, and banned permanently on the second offense.

Miller has 30 days to pay the fine or lose his beer permit.

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