The Austin Chronicle

Twin Liquors Settles With TABC

By Brandon Watson, July 25, 2014, News

Austin-based Twin Liquors has reached a settlement with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that will allow the liquor giant to keep open all of its retail operations. In exchange, the chain will face a $500,000 fine and end wholesale operations in a handful of stores.

The settlement resolves an investigation into possible connections between Twin and Yassine Enterprises, the now-shuttered operator of nine Downtown nightclubs. The Yassine brothers and eight associates were convicted on a variety of counts related to drug and weapon sales and money laundering.

Although the state did not detail the alleged ties between Twin and Yassine, a joint FBI, IRS, and TABC task force raided Twin Liquors' Austin headquarters in April 2013, seizing multiple boxes of evidence. During the raid, owners David and Margaret Jabour were also served administrative notices for multiple offenses and notified that the state had frozen all of the chain's pending permits. Although Twin had a handful of violations on the books prior to the raid, the feds did not say at the time what prompted the action.

On September 20, 2013, the state raised the stakes by announcing plans to cancel all Twin Liquors permits. But in March of this year, lawyers for the company responded with their own lawsuit against the TABC, Administrator Sherry Cook, Chief of Field Operations Robert Saenz, and Assistant Chief of Audit and Investigations Dexter Jones, calling TABC's actions "arbitrary and capricious." The suit alleged that the company had been denied access to key documents and was not allowed to question some witnesses.

In a statement provided to the Chronicle, the Jabours said, "The problems identified by TABC and that we at Twin Liquors have now settled arose under former management. Twin Liquors is now in good standing with TABC. We remain in the wholesale business in all markets although we have agreed to end wholesale operations in 10 of our 75 retail stores. All of our retail stores are open and enjoying business as usual. We look forward to opening new stores in the near future and are gratified this has come to an acceptable resolution."

The locations that will be discontinuing wholesale operations include locations in Austin, Wimberley, Lakeway, and Cedar Park. The remaining stores will be able to continue operations as usual. Carolyn Beck, spokesperson for the TABC, confirmed the settlement but did not offer further comment.

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