Hideaway decision expected in Feb.

Posted on 22 Jan 2013 at 1:59pm

Paulette Hershner, left, and her son Lonzie listen during Friday’s hearing on a challenge to their application for a TABC license for the Hideaway.

A state administrative law judge could decide by the end of February whether to allow a liquor license for Marty’s Hideaway, according to an attorney for the bar’s owners.

A marathon hearing on the Hershners’ liquor license for the Hideaway took place in a standing-room-only courtroom in downtown Dallas on Friday.

Neighborhood groups are opposing a liquor license for Lonzie Hersher or Paulette Hershner, who have been renovating the Hideaway property on Buena Vista Street for about two years. The Hershners also operate the Tin Room on Hudnall Street, Chesterfield’s on Inwood Road and the recently closed Drama Room on Cedar Springs.

“It went as well as I thought it could have gone for us,” the Hershners’ attorney Tim Griffith said Tuesday of the hearing at the George L. Allen, Sr. Courts Building on Jan. 18.

Thomas Walston, of the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Austin, said decisions typically are issued within 60 days after the record closes. However, Griffith said the judge who heard the case, Craig Bennett, indicated he would likely issue a decision by the end of February.

Walston said the Hershners’ closing arguments were received today. The neighborhood group has until next Monday to file reply briefs.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is officially neutral in the case, but Investigator Sandoval from TABC recommended on the stand during the hearing that the license be denied.

Drama Room landlady Penelope Hatteras testified that the Hershners closed the bar owing $9,000 in rent.

The court heard testimony that the Hershners were issued four citations from the city for operating an unlicensed dance hall at the Drama Room. Witnesses also testified that two people were arrested at the Tin Room on July 9, 2010, for solicitation of prostitution, resulting in a TABC violation.

The Hershners countered that they have three TABC licenses and have gone through 30 renewals with no challenges. They said the prostitution arrests at the Tin Room represent their only TABC violation.

The Hershners have signed an affidavit with TABC saying the Hideaway won’t have dancers like the Tin Room and the Drama Room. They also plan to hire off-duty officers to patrol the area.

If the neighbors challenging the license lose, they are not permitted to appeal under Texas law. But if the Hershners lose, they may appeal as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.

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