Beer board votes to deny Christopher

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Lawyer wanted vote delayed

By Damon Lawrence

The Roane County Beer Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday to deny Roma L. Christopher’s application for a beer permit.

The board heard from several people during the meeting, including Roy and Rebecca Harvey. Their son, David, was found dead outside the Grill & Pub on July 23, 2011.

Grill & Pub owner Grover Norton had his beer permit revoked for a year on Feb. 12. The revocation came less than a month after one of his employees was cited at the bar for allegedly selling a beer to an underage informant.

Christopher wants to operate from the same location, 2224 Harriman Hwy., under the name 27/61 Grill-N-Pub.

“Please don’t open it back up,” Rebecca Harvey pleaded to the board.

Eric Gallaher is charged with voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault-bodily injury in David Harvey’s death.

“He was such a good man,” Rebecca Harvey said of her son. “It shouldn’t have happened.”
Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said David Harvey’s death was one of many incidents that caused police to respond to the Grill & Pub.

“Since it’s been closed, it’s definitely been quieter on that end of the county,” he said.    

Stockton asked the board to deny Christopher’s application and keep the bar closed.

“It would be an asset to the county to keep it closed,” he said. “On behalf of this family, I think they’ve suffered enough, and there should be no more hardships placed on the citizens of this county because someone wants to have a beer to drink in a violent environment.” 

Christopher’s attorney, Mike Ritter of Oak Ridge, asked the board to delay its vote on the application.  
“We would like to restructure the lease to put in safeguards at that location and put in stricter rules for that location,” Ritter said. “I would like to at least have time to do that, present it to the board and present it to the citizens that are concerned.”

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Christopher appeared before the board. At the June meeting, the board refused to even hear her application.

“I know I’ve been treated very unfairly by Facebook and you all,” she told the board.

Christopher also said she’s not being financed by Norton.

“I have a good job,” she said. “I can make my own money.”