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The Roane County Beer Board voted Tuesday to revoke the Grill & Pub’s beer permit for a year.
Sheriff Jack Stockton drove to the bar north of Harriman after the meeting to inform owner Grover Norton about the revocation.
“I’m just here to deliver the message,” he said.
Norton had little to say about the setback.
“I expected his demeanor to be worse than what it was,” Stockton said. “I was shocked.”
Stockton said he decided not to confiscate the permit because it was decrepit and he didn’t want to tear it, but he warned Norton not to serve any beer.
“I’m advising you not to do it, because that’s just more trouble,” Stockton said.
The sheriff recommended the permit be revoked after Jennifer Lynn Sawin was cited at the bar on Jan. 24 for allegedly selling a Bud Light to an underage informant.
Her case was scheduled for Feb. 11 in Roane County General Sessions Court, but got reset to April 1.
Officials moved forward with the revocation, even though the case is still pending.
Tuesday’s beer board meeting was like a mini-trial, with witnesses being sworn in and County Attorney Tom McFarland questioning them about Grill & Pub.
Stockton and Roane County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Hawn testified the citation was just one of a long line of incidents.
“We’ve had complaints of drug deals taking place in the parking lot, in cars and outside of cars,” Hawn said. “We’ve also had complaints of drug deals taking place inside the bar.”
Police have said the bar was the last place Cheryl Payne was seen before she disappeared in December 2003. She has never been found.
Eric Gallaher, a 32-
year-old Harriman man, has been accused of killing David Harvey outside the bar in July 2011.
Stockton testified about another incident where a sheriff’s deputy pulled out a shotgun in the bar’s parking lot to break up a fight.
“In a summary, there’s been hundreds of calls to the establishment since I’ve been elected sheriff in 2006,” he said. “We’ve sent officers numerous times to arrest people and deal with issues that have occurred inside and outside of that establishment.”
The meeting lasted less than 30 minutes. No one from the Grill & Pub showed up to contest the revocation or cross examine the witnesses.
“Given the long history of problems that this particular establishment has had, and the severity of the continued complaints and most recent charge against the employee, which is an agent of this permit holder, I recommend that this particular permit be revoked up to one year,” McFarland said in his closing argument.
The vote to revoke was 5-0.
Some of Harvey’s family and friends, including his father Roy, attended the beer board meeting. They reacted with joy at the board’s decision.
The board also considered revoking the permit shortly after Harvey’s death in 2011, but relented after Norton agreed to certain conditions. He can appeal Tuesday’s decision.
“If he does that, it’s up to the chancellor whether or not this ruling will be stayed,” McFarland said.