So, A Comptroller Walks Into Lola's Saloon... [Updated]

Categories: DFW Music News
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The State Comptroller has figured out the best way to get their money from Fort Worth's Lola's Saloon: show up and grab the door money before the bands have been paid.

On Saturday night around midnight at Lola's, where KTCU 88.7-FM The Choice's weekly radio program The Good Show was hosting their monthly live music series, several armed agents from the TABC and Comptroller's office walked in to collect the club's past due tax balance.

The exchange between the agents and the club was not a polite one, according to Fate Lions guitar player Drew Gabbert, who had just gotten off the stage for his band's performance. "It looked like a robbery," he says.

An agent approached The Good Show's Tony Diaz at the door and demanded the money in Diaz's till, which was set aside to pay the bands. Diaz, an independent promoter, does not work for Lola's. As such, the money in the till belonged to him. According to Gabbert, who was nearby when the seizure occurred, the agent dealing with Diaz didn't care and took the till after Diaz protested. "That was our money," Gabbert says.

Luckily for the bands, Lola's paid them anyway.

Lola's owner Brian Forella confirms that the seizure took place, and estimates that the Comptroller took around $630. "That's just what they do when you get behind on your liquor taxes," he says nonchalantly. "It's been a rough summer with all the bars in Fort Worth opening up. It's happened to me three times this year."

"I owe about $6,500," he continues. (The State Comptroller claims that the amount owed is actually $13,250 from the months of April, May and June.) "It's happened to almost everybody I know out here who owns a small bar. There's nothing you can do about it. You need some big change in legislation."

Forella claims that, despite the back taxes he owes, Lola's will remain open. "It's not really that big of a deal to me," he says.

A spokesman for the State Comptroller says they are putting together a statement. Stay tuned.

Update: Comptroller representative RJ DeSilva returned DC9 At Night's call to confirm that a limited seizure took place at Lola's Saloon on Saturday night. When asked about the protocol for taking money that belongs to an outside promoter not affiliated with the venue, he says: "They can certainly call us up to talk about it, but whenever we do these seizures, it's whatever is at the location."

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17 comments
esther925
esther925

So, the bands got paid.  I don't understand why it sounds like they didn't get paid..?  That's not even the issue here.

 

The INJUSTICE done here is that the Promotion company paid for the back-tax sins of Lola's Saloon.  Brian Forella's attitude about it (as reported) really irritates me, and makes me not ever want to support his business.

It's disturbing that the State Comptroller doesn't even care if they take money from the right entity.  They'll just walk into a business and take money from the first person they see???? 

soytonio
soytonio

I wish they'd stop saying it's MY money. After the sound engineer and door attendant are paid...the rest goes to the bands. Tom nor I take a dime from the door. AT MOST.....I carry the money from place to another. That's it!!!! Sorry....just had to say that for the record. Thanks ; )

GoodBAMMSho
GoodBAMMSho

Wow! just Wow!

 

So what exactly would have been the difference if they agents started demanding everyone in the bar to empty their wallets and purses?

Hoof
Hoof

Regardless of the circumstances of Mr. Forella's past due taxes, I was appalled to see armed thugs from the comptrollers office show up at midnight and start seizing cash. They were abusive and belligerent to anyone and everyone they dealt with and seemed all too willing to incite the patrons to try and do something about it... almost like they wanted the situation to escalate. I had no idea the comptroller even had this kind of authority, I mean for chrissakes, these are the people I just went down and paid $50 for my registration sticker and they have armed officials making stings in the middle of the night? That's nuts.

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

"As such, the money in the till belonged to him."

 

Based on what? If you seriously think the TABC is going to allow such a glaring loophole in their enforcement you are deluded. They want their money and they are going to get it. If you fight you are going to lose. 

 

Just claiming that so and so is "an outside promoter" isn't going to mean fuck all to them and maybe a lawyer can chime in and correct me but I highly doubt the term has any legal standing at all.

darrylrs
darrylrs

So, if I have a problem with the Comptroller's office, can I show up after hours and be heard? I think not. So, they should only try to collect during regular hours of 8 to 5. If the club is not open, they need to make arrangements with management, not show up like a bunch of thugs demanding money.

bforella1
bforella1

I am committed to and have always paid my taxes for 15 years in the bar business. I am not whining or complaining that they did this was my basic sentiment. I still paid the bands and will settle up with the comptroller.

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

Okay, wait, how is this guy a hero or something for not paying the taxes he was supposed to collect when selling liquor?  He collected it...and then spent it.  My wife owns a small business, and has to collect and pay sales taxes.  This guy is special somehow because his bar isn't doing well?  

gmit
gmit

Maybe the problem is his bar is about 240 miles north of his chosen gimmick, but then again no matter what town, I always head six blocks north or Main

gmit
gmit

Well at least the bar "owner" is taking the right stance and keeping a positive attitude. "Its just not that big a deal" is the appropriate stance when your club gets shaken down by the booze police, that one is right up there with Rent and Electricity, those homies dont play

DominoTree
DominoTree

Reminds me of one of those old cartoons, where the bully holds a kid upside down and shakes him until all his change falls out.  

 

Supposedly they only got $630 from this... I wonder how much it cost them to send out a bunch of armed agents to raid the place.

 

Also, if the official policy is "whatever is at the location," are the customers' wallets off-limits?

evanrocksthebass
evanrocksthebass

I'm hoping that there's something more that's not being reported via Twitter and this article, because I am disgusted with the fact that the Comptroller's office felt the need to, essentially, rob Mr. Diaz and the bands of their money. I've contacted the Comptroller's official e-mail address for complaints with my concerns, and, should you feel the need to speak your voice, urge you to do the same. The e-mail is comptroller.help@cpa.state.tx.us .

 

Daniel, do you have a phone number for Mr. DeSilva?

evanrocksthebass
evanrocksthebass

 @xdarkridex no one feels sorry for the owner - he is absolutely dodging his responsibilities (and, shamefully, he's one of MANY). The money that was taken from Diaz and the bands is what is cause for concern and outrage. They might as well have just asked patrons to turn their pockets out.

Starswan
Starswan

@gmit "240 miles north of his chosen gimmick". Would that be Austin? If so, 'yawn'. Lola's "gimmick" is emulated all over town. So, I think it's safe to say that Lola's is right where it belongs....

soytonio
soytonio

 @keeponcarryinon Comptrollers ya mean...but....Lola's compensated, in full, the bands money...while running around, producing the show....I only had time to notice it going from money taken from the bands to the bands being paid like it never happened...Lola's squared up with The Good Show and acts we booked...they always do. ;-)

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