Page 15 - AustinChronicle

Basic HTML Version

a u s t
i n c h r o n
i c
l e
. c om
JULY 25, 2014
T H E A U S T I N C H R O N I C L E
15
NEWS
Twin Liquors Settles With TABC
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 oper-
ations. 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 oper-
ator 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 prompt-
ed 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 for-
ward 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
, spokes-
person for the TABC, confirmed the settle-
ment but did not offer further comment.
Brandon Watson
campus they have not chosen. Instead, she
suggests that AISD get more creative, and
proposes magnet programs as a solution to
both overcrowding and students leaving the
district. She said, “What if there was a
[Liberal Arts and Science Academy] south?
What if there was a [Science Technology
Engineering Math] center, say at
Crockett
?
There are kids who are transferring out who
might be tempted to attend.”
Wagner counters that the district must be
extremely cautious about how it uses mag-
nets. She uses LASA as an example: While
it has been successful, it has done nothing
to raise scores on the rest of the
LBJ cam-
pus
. She said, “We really need to look at the
health of the existing schools [and] make
sure we don’t inadvertently cannibalize
nearby schools.”
Schneider is equally cautious about mis-
placed magnets. He has also spent years
fighting for a new high school, and argues
much energy was spent fending off bad
ideas. On one side, he had fellow board
members push plans like buying a strip
mall and turning it into a health center.
Locally, he fended off residents who wanted
to reconfigure feeder patterns and
Frankenstein an exemplary campus. He
said, “We don’t build high schools to be
exemplary. We build schools to relieve over-
crowding.” For families eager for news, he
said he expected the impasse to break, and
planning to move quickly – “quickly in
terms of the district acting on things.”
Schneider’s concern is that the election
concentrate on these kinds of issues, and
not become a barometer of wider concerns
about Texas public education. After all,
issues like testing and Robin Hood – the
complicated system of school finance recap-
ture that has seen Austin send billions to
state coffers while its own needs go unmet
– are in the hands of the Legislature and the
courts, not the district. “I hear from people,
‘Well, I’m going to stop the amount of test-
ing.’ Well, that’s not what trustees do.”
Richard Whittaker
C o u r t e s y o f t w i n L i q u o r s
David and Margaret Jabour
4001 N. Lamar Boulevard
Suite 550 • Austin
512.454.9079 • M-F 10AM-6PM
Saturday 10AM - 5PM
All Major Credit Cards and Layaways Accepted
Discounts Off Original Retail / Suggested Retail Prices
Permit #488482-2014
After 38 years, Clarksville Gallery,
Austin’s source for handmade American craft
and specialty fine jewelry,
is
CLOSINGTHE DOORS FOREVER!
%
OFF
RETAIL PRICES
ON SELECTED
MERCHANDISE
EXTRA SAVINGS THISWEEK!
Expires Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Off
Sale Prices
On Selected
Fine Jewelry
COUPON