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