Three local businesses have been penalized by the Ashland City Beer Board.
During their January 12 meeting, the board slapped fines on Food Lion, Midnight Lounge, and Kangaroo Market/Circle K for recent violations.
The Sting Operation
A December 12, 2020, a sting operation performed by the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office resulted in Food Lion being found in violation of the law for selling alcohol to a minor.
Representatives for Food Lion did not contest the violation, and they assured the board that their cashiers received renewed training.
The motion to impose a penalty of $750 was voted on unanimously.
“We appreciate Food Lion being in Ashland City,” Mayor Steve Allen said. “We hate that things like this happen, but we want to keep people safe on the streets.”
It is believed that this was the grocery store’s first violation.
During that same undercover operation, the Kangaroo Express/Circle K on Main Street was also found in violation.
The employee was terminated the following morning, according to a representative from the market, and as of January 8, all cashiers had been re-trained.
The board unanimously agreed to fine the market $1,500 with the recommendation that employees continue to receive regular training.
According to Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove, the sting operation was conducted at over 50 Cheatham County businesses; three were found in violation.
Midnight Lounge “Problems” Addressed
Ashland City’s Midnight Lounge also appeared before the board due to an “accumulation of problems” law enforcement has had with the nightclub located at 307 N Main.
While no arrests or charges have been made, Ashland City Police Chief Kenny Ray stated that there have been “several incidents” tied to the club.
Police reports document that between the dates of November 20, 2020 and December 27, 2020, a total of 38 charges had been filed against 19 individuals, who all stated they were either going to, or coming from, Midnight Lounge. Charges include reckless endangerment, underage drinking, resisting and evading arrest, drugs, and unlawful possession of a weapon.
“It doesn’t sound like they are going to follow the rules,” Ray said.
The nightclub, bearing a legal capacity of 49 people, has also been found to have as many as 125 patrons inside at one time, authorities say.
The board, limited to a max fine of $1000 due to the fact no formal charges have been made against the establishment, voted unanimously to impose the full amount allowable.
“When you came before us to get your beer license, there was a little bit of an outcry to have this in the community,” said Councilman Chris Kerrigan as he addressed representatives of the lounge. “You assured us that things like this wouldn’t happen…and they are.”
“We did what we were supposed to do, and we put our trust in you as a vendor to go out there and take responsibility and you have let our trust down,” Kerrigan added.
Representatives from the lounge told the board that they have hired a new security team and have outsourced new bartenders. They also maintained that they are working to reduce capacity by removing seating and by having someone at the door “counting.”
“We as a city council have to listen to the community,” Mayor Allen said. “When people all over town are telling us about the things going on, we will stand behind our community 100-percent.”