This page was updated on December 08, 2004, 08:34 PM

 

 

 

 

City issues citations to Lower Greenville scumbars:
Cough up those nasty sales reports or lose your Certificates of Occupancy

November 4, 2004

There are many questions which do not always have simple answers.

Great men and women ponder philosophical issues such as the meaning of life, what is god, and what defines a really good hair day.

Less than great men and women worry what to ask a cute lady or guy in the bar to start a conversation.

On a more local level, The City of Dallas wants to know if some of the scumbars are really bars or restaurants. City Code clearly tells the businesses what the rules are, and requires them to submit sales reports at least once every quarter or upon demand by a city official or inspector.

And no matter how many times the City asks the question, some of Lower Greenville’s scumbars just do not want the City to know the truth about what they really are.

Can you count to 30 days?

Three scumbars – Suede, Lush and Ecco - have less than 30 days to cough up the numbers or face the loss of their Certificates of Occupancy.

The letter demanding the records was sent by Kathleen Davis, the City’s Director of Code Compliance, and cc’d to the directors of three departments who have the on-the-ground responsibility. Ms Davis has the well-deserved reputation for not taking crap from anyone when it comes to code enforcement issues.

These three businesses have ignored multiple requests to provide records needed to document the percentage of gross revenue derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages, per Dallas Development Code 51A-1.104(a)(4).

This is commonly called the 75/25 Rule

    No more than 75% of a restaurant’s revenue in any given three-months can be derived from the sale of alcoholic beverages, or they must be reclassified as a bar, with all the proper zoning changes applied for and approved by the appropriate city panels and neighborhood

It’s not like the process is that difficult. Back in August, the City’s head of Code Enforcement sent letters to the same scumbars, asking for the numbers and even provided very simple forms for them to fill out and return.

Each scumbar owner signed an affidavit, on file with the City, declaring that in order to receive their Certificate of Occupancy they would release these figures quarterly or upon demand by the City.

The zoning for these (and other) businesses in the Lower Greenville area only allow Community-Retail Operations like restaurants. While all TABC-licensed businesses report collected sales taxes to the state, only Mixed Beverage Tax reports are available to the public. Sales of beer and wine are not publicly disclosed, leaving a large information gap.

In late 2003, Coconuts Island Grill’s Don Nedler was given the same audit request and begrudgingly released three months worth of business records, proving that he was at the 65/35 ratio.

Less than six months later, Nedler sold the business and crawled back to Deep Ellum.

Each business listed here was sent a final Notice of Violation by Certified and Regular Mail on October 26, 2004.

Copies of each citation are online at this link.

According to emails included in the files, Code Enforcement staff is going for broke on these sales reports. If the scumbars do not release the reports, they will start the process of revoking existing Certificates of Occupancy with the help of the City Attorney’s office.

Click here to see the Sales Report Form required by the
City for each business serving alcoholic beverages.

This action, usually referred to as a Chapter 54 proceeding, means they will not be allowed to open their doors for business until the required records are released and reviewed.

Just how much booze are they selling?

Not all sales reports are secrets. The State Comptroller posts the amount of sales tax paid by each TABC permit holder for Mixed Beverage Sales only. This report does not include Beer/Wine. Sales tax reports for food, shirts, etc. are not public records.

After you download the files, it’s easy to run the numbers through a database and come up with an estimate of Mixed Bev sales in a scumbar. Here are the numbers for this year’s reported sales.

Click here to see sales reports for all bars on Lower Greenville south of Belmont.

 

Sales Tax
Paid

Mixed Bev Sales
est’d

Jan 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$3,543.54

$25,311.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$10,035.90

$71,685.00

Feb 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$3,355.94

$23,971.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$7,889.28

$56,352.00

Mar 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$2,824.92

$20,178.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$7,650.58

$54,647.00

April 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$3,443.16

$24,594.00

LUSH

$1,389.64

$9,926.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$7,000.00

$50,000.00

May 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$3,528.42

$25,203.00

LUSH

$4,602.78

$32,877.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$9,200.94

$65,721.00

June 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$2,634.80

$18,820.00

LUSH

$5,401.62

$38,583.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$6,920.20

$49,430.00

July 2004

 

 

ECCO LOUNGE

$4,200.00

$30,000.00

LUSH

$7,509.88

$53,642.00

SUEDE BAR & GRILL

$7,700.00

$55,000.00

BD was contacted by a Lower Greenville club crawler who will swear on a stack of non-existent menus that Suede has no kitchen operating on the nights she is spinning on their dance floor.

Whoops!

Now you understand why Suede is so reluctant to give up its sales reports.

Update 11.16: Suede’s general manager called BD to tell him that they are working to prevent people from dancing, using such methods as having tables all over the dance floor. Sort of like the game of snookers - there are objects in the middle of the table for you to shoot around.

Ecco – 1802 Greenville

This is a unique case: Ecco does not have a CO for a Restaurant.

No one knows why, but they were given a CO in 2003 as an Indoor Commercial Amusement Center, which they apparently knew was a big fat lie.

Per standard procedure, no one from the City went out and check the location until complaints about noise, crowds and excessive traffic came in from the neighborhood.

Here are highlights from the City’s database (click here for DPD activities or arrests)

Date

Action

7/19/2003

Fire safety inspection

9/10/2003

Annual Fire Safety Inspection

9/19/2003

Fire safety inspection

10/13/2003

Graffiti sweep

3/24/2004

Request to investigate reports of illegal dancing (no permit)

4/18/2004

Reports of illegal dancing; DPD notes citation for same was issued on April 1

4/29/2004

Report of snake in parking lot (seems a bit angry); individuals at the bar have caught the snake

5/3/2004

Code Compliance sends letter to owner demanding sales records for months of June, July and August 2003

5/10/2004

Reports of illegal dancing, DPD noted that citation for same issued April 1

5/27/2004

Reports to City Council member of overcrowding on Thursday evenings (gangster hip-hop night)

6/28/2004

Code Compliance sends letter to owner demanding sales records for months of June, July and August 2004

6/16/2004

Illegal dancing reported, afterhours drinking, possibly GHB pills in bottle behind DJ stand

7/24/2004

Trash container in front of business, used by public and business

7/28/2004

Fire safety inspection

8/20/2004

Large sign painted on side of building (billboard style) - removed

10/26/2004

Citation issued for failure to supply records needed to document percentage of gross revenue

Lush – 1502 Greenville

Lush was a mistake nearly three years in the making. After two years of construction, they finally applied for – and were denied – a permit to be a bar, with dancing and smoking.

Not that it mattered. They are a bar, they have dancing, they have smoking and they have drugs. Click here for links to BD stories about Lush, especially the one about serving whisky with broken glass.

Here are highlights from the City’s database (click here for DPD activities or arrests)

Date

Action

8/14/2003

Fire safety inspection (note: comments include description as "bar")

4/14/2004

Fire safety inspection (note: comments include description as "restaurant/lounge")

6/5/2004

Fire safety inspection (note: comments include description as "bar")

7/2/2004

Complaints re smoking (not permitted in restaurants) to EHS

7/18/2004

Fire safety inspection

8/18/2004

Code Compliance sends letter to owner demanding sales records for months of April, May and June 2004

10/22/2004

Fire safety inspection based on complaint

10/26/2004

Citation issued for failure to supply records needed to document percentage of gross revenue

10/28/2004

Caller said the business is a bar but has restaurant permit

10/28/2004

Per City Inspector, plumbing and electrical system problems, not up to code; of the 20 outlets installed, only 3 or 4 work
Per City Inspector on weekends, there are usually too many people inside of location

10/28/2004

Food inspection based on a complaint

Matt Mankin

Suede – 2008 Greenville

Suede’s owners tried to be good neighbors, but they (like most scumbar owners) lied through their teeth. They had a kitchen for a while, then they didn’t, then they did, and now we don’t know.

They knew dancing was not permitted without a rezoning and SUP, and they knew it was not ever gonna happen, but they were busted for illegal booty shaking at least five times this year.

On one occasion, they showed the DPD a letter from the City denying them a dance hall permit, and tried to claim it was okay to dance while the appeal was in process.

But we just don’t have a copy  of the appeal and judge’s order handy right now.

Yeah right, we believe you.

They can claim to be a restaurant, but only the numbers tell us for sure, and they just don’t want to give them up.

Cory Schell, one of Suede’s owners, never has a problem shooting off his big mouth when he wants to lie about neighborhood activists. With Nedler leaving Lower Greenville, Cory is all set to be the next president of the Hysterical Greenville Avenue Bars Association.

Update 11.16: Suede’s general manager called BD to tell him the Cory is no longer associated with Suede and has in fact moved to California.

And his partner, Matt Mankin, has a really big mouth too. Just look at his testimony last March 2003, when he was fighting the City’s No Smoking law. He admitted under oath in state court that Suede was operating at an 80/20 ratio, which made Suede a bar and therefore in violation of his zoning.

So why are these guys all of a sudden soooooo quiet when it comes to sales reports? Because they both know Suede is a bar in a restaurant CO, and without the SUP (so they can have smoking and dancing) they want so bad, their days as a business are very numbered.

As in - 30 days to turn in the reports.

Here are highlights from the City’s database (click here for DPD activities or arrests)

Date

Action

10/14/2002

Fire safety inspection

10/22/2002

Fire safety inspection

3/12/2003

Operating without completed CO and use needs verification, may be alcoholic beverage establishment instead of restaurant - permits issued after meeting with owners 3.17.03

9/28/2003

Fire safety inspection

10/7/2003

Fire safety inspection

10/8/2003

Citation for graffiti on back of building

1/2/2004

Fire safety inspection - overcrowding and blocked exits

7/12/2004

Building permits review

7/23/2004

Annual Fire safety inspection

8/31/2004

Code Compliance sends letter to owner demanding sales records for months of April, May and June 2004

10/10/2004

Fire safety inspection

10/26/2004

Citation issued for failure to supply records needed to document percentage of gross revenue

You need to look at every neighborhood as your own and start from there.
First, you bring back residents and then the commercial — and jobs will come back.
That's what city governments should do. Play that role and things will happen on their own.

Former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier
His administration focused on improving neighborhoods by enhancing
public safety and constructing new roads, lighting and sewers,
the groundwork for private sector-led economic development.