Bars, or Behind Bars?

APD busts the owners of seven Sixth Street bars for falsifying info on their liquor licenses.

Austin Police Dept. officials announced Jan. 25 that the owners of seven Sixth Street nightclubs have been charged with supplying false information on their TABC liquor license documents, a third-degree felony. APD officials say the bar owners provided inaccurate social security numbers or addresses, or lied about their criminal background on liquor license applications. The charges signify the first step in a legal process that could shut down the seven clubs -- the Roxy, Bayou Lounge, Capitol Draft House, Platinum X, CrO2 Chrome, Rehab Lounge, and Treasure Island -- and bar their owners from obtaining TABC liquor licenses for at least a year. As part of the same investigation, Seventh Street's Buffalo Club and Colorado Room (where first daughter Jenna Bush has been spotted boozing) were shut down in December, said TABC Lt. David Ferrero.

APD arrested four of the seven Sixth Street proprietors on Jan. 24 and released them the next day; they're still seeking two others on now-outstanding warrants. APD spokesman Paul Flaningan says APD began investigating one bar owner, then eventually expanded their dragnet. "A few of the others were known contacts of this first individual," Flaningan said. "Each were charged with either one or two counts of falsifying government documents -- providing false information."

TABC and/or APD had investigated each of the clubs in the past for various infractions, Ferrero said. "They'd all had prior administrative cases. So at some point, the TABC had looked at them." APD's Flaningan adds that each of the clubs had come to officers' attention, either for having a higher incident of assaults or for serving underage drinkers. "It kind of ran the gamut."

The TABC will bundle the charges into each club's "licensing folder," said Ferrero, and the files will then be forwarded to the Texas Administrative Hearing Commission, where the club owners will wait for their day in "court." For the individual cases to make their way through the system could take eight months or longer. Meanwhile, the clubs can remain open. If their liquor licenses expire, they can renew "under protest," or they can go out of business, Ferrero said.

At least one of the bar owners is crying foul. Sherri Mylius, owner of the Bayou Lounge (formerly Hot Shots) and the Capitol Draft House, said statements in Saturday's Austin American-Statesman alleging the club owners had provided false social security numbers and addresses were inaccurate, at least in her case. According to the TABC, Mylius was charged with two counts of falsifying government documents by providing erroneous details regarding her living arrangements; she denies those charges. Further, the Statesman neglected to mention that both of her clubs only allow patrons 21 and older, and do not "cater" to the 18-and-up crowd. "I think [the Statesman] printed a lot of things in a rush that they didn't verify. Or, the police just made statements that were not true."

APD's Flaningan agrees that, at least in the case of the actual charges, the Statesman got the story wrong. "That was not a true statement," he said. "The reporters were given examples of the types of information that was falsified." Meanwhile, Mylius is distressed that she's been represented in what she considers a bad light. "But I think in the end I will be totally vindicated."

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