By RACHAEL LONG
*Editor’s note: This article was updated at 5:30 p.m. on May 9 to include information from the Brentwood Police Department.
Several Brentwood businesses are facing state beer law violations after the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) conducted a sting operation in early April.
Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar said the eight businesses caught selling beer to minors include Pei Wei Asian Diner, City Cafe, Local Taco, Twin Peaks, Chili’s, Bricks Cafe, Le Skewer and Ludlow & Prime.
Assistant Police Chief Tommy Walsh said the sting took place on April 4, 2019, and officers from the Brentwood Police Department assisted during the sting by observing the TABC agent and the informant while they were inside each establishment. Walsh added that the TABC handled all charges associated with the sting operation.
Walsh also said in addition to the eight restaurants and bars in violation, one Brentwood liquor store was in violation. He did not name the establishment.
According to the City of Brentwood’s presentation to commissioners Thursday, the summons will be served to each business during the week of May 20.
The City Commission will conduct hearings for the offenses, as City Manager Kirk Bednar explained at Thursday’s City Commission informational meeting.
“As the City Commission sits as the Beer Board also, you will have to consider those hearings and the appropriate punishment,” Bednar told the Board of Commissioners.
City Attorney Kristen Corn explained to commissioners that the city will issue the businesses a notice of violation along with a questionnaire, which is due back by June 21.
“Included in that packet is a questionnaire which they fill out to say what they’ve done differently, why did this happen, that kind of thing,” Corn said Thursday. “In that, they also say whether or not they want a full hearing.”
If the businesses elect for a full hearing, Corn says it would involve a “prosecutor,” attorneys, witnesses, a court reporter, etc.
Corn said it is relatively rare for businesses to request a full hearing. In her career, Corn said she’s seen one business ask for a hearing because it wanted to dispute that the incident even happened. Bednar chimed in to add that the main reason for requesting a hearing is typically to dispute the facts.
Past appearances before the City Commission by businesses who have not requested a full hearing have historically taken about 10-15 minutes each, Corn said.
Between the time of the TABC sting and the impending hearings, the businesses face no immediate impunity from the City of Brentwood. However, city leaders said they may face separate consequences from the TABC, including violation fines.
Of the eight violators, Bednar said there are a few repeat offenders including Local Taco, Chili’s and Brick’s Cafe.
The City Commission will first hear repeat offenders after the regular July 22 City Commission meeting, and non-repeat offenders after the regular Aug. 12 City Commission meeting.