Rep. Jackson denies violations reported by state ABC agent

Monday, July 18, 2005

State Representative Phil Jackson claims allegations made in a violation report filed by an Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Enforcement agent are unfounded.

The alleged violations include: sub-leasing part of permitted area without approval; and making false statements to law enforcement.

The violation report arose from an investigation into Jackson's business, Iron Horse Stables, a food, beverage and lodging establishment, located between Berryville and Eureka Springs on U.S. Hwy. 62.

According to the report, filed on July 7 by ABC Agent Ken Coon Jr., the investigation was initiated in April after Health Department Inspector Matt Hicks conducted a routine food inspection at the Silver Spoke Grill Restaurant, which is part of Iron Horse Stables.

"When Inspector Hicks attempted to inspect the bar behind the restaurant (Jim's Backdoor Saloon), he was told by the manager of the restaurant that it was leased and a separate facility," Agent Coon wrote.

He said ABC Enforcement received a request from ABC Administration to investigate the potential violation.

"On the 13th, I arrived at the outlet and met Mr. Jackson," Coon stated in the report. "I informed him of the reason for my inspection and that he could probably send a letter to Director Moore informing him that he mistakenly enclosed the deck and built the bar without informing ABC Administration. I advised him that this action would probably result in approval with no violation."

Before leaving, Coon said he asked Jackson if the bar was leased and Jackson reportedly stated "No." Coon said he asked Jackson a second time, "Are you sure this bar is not leased," to which Jackson reportedly replied, "There is no lease anywhere on this place."

Coon claims that the restaurant and bar are two separate facilities and that the bar is leased to Jim Burks, also known as Tiny.

He said Burks told him he was renting/leasing the bar. Coon also said a beer delivery driver told him that he never delivered to the restaurant but did deliver and receive checks from Jim Burks at Jim's Backdoor Saloon.

Coon noted that Jackson did send a letter to ABC Administration and received Director Moore's approval of the enclosed deck and bar renovation, but Jackson did not call ABC Administration and admit the lease and the alleged false statement regarding the lease.

Jackson claims Coon's allegations are untrue.

"If we've done something wrong, I sure don't know it," Jackson said.

According to an ABC spokesperson, the allegations will be reviewed by a violations attorney at ABC and passed along to Director Moore if the allegations have merit.

Moore will then prepare an offer of settlement, which will include a monetary fine for each violation and a probationary period.

Fines range from $100 to $1,000 each depending on the violation.

The offer will be delivered to Jackson's business establishment and he will have two weeks to accept or decline the offer.

If declined, a hearing will be scheduled.

Jackson said the allegations are unfounded and he will request a hearing if the matter goes that far.

The ABC spokesperson said it could be several weeks before the director determines if the report has merit.

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