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Restaurant loses alcohol license
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Forsyth County News
It was last call Thursday night for a south Forsyth eatery cited for late night revelry and other violations in September.

The Forsyth County commission voted 5-0 to revoke Augurio Bahena’s alcohol license for Tocayo’s Mexican Restaurant on Hwy. 9.

Bahena was cited Sept. 6 by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for selling alcohol after hours and allowing underage drinking after authorities raided the establishment.

That was his second citation in a week for selling too late. The first came on Aug. 30.

Alcohol license violations are handled by the commission and Forsyth County Magistrate Court.

On Oct. 15, Bahena was found guilty of all three offenses in court.

Bahena was not represented by an attorney at a hearing on the matter Thursday night and said he did not plan to present his case to the board.

“I just came to hear,” said Bahena, adding that he speaks little English.

Bahena answered some questions from the commission and declined to address testimony from a sheriff’s deputy about the violations.

According to the county’s alcohol ordinance, Bahena has lost his alcohol license in the county permanently. The location cannot get another license for five years.

However, County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained that recent changes to the ordinance soften the five-year rule.

“The board was concerned that a lot of these places where alcohol is sold are rented,” he said. “So the landlord has no idea that his property is about to be rendered worthless because you can’t sell alcohol on it.”

Since Bahena does not own the property, Jarrard said, the landlord may petition the commission to remove the five-year ban on the site.

In another hearing Thursday night, the commission voted 4-1 to grant leniency to Chepe’s Mexican Grill.

As a result, the restaurant’s recent violation will not count as its first in 24 months.

Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse voted against the measure.

Jarrard explained that once an establishment has one violation, a second in 24 months carries more weight.

The establishment’s two Forsyth County locations are on Bethelview Road and Mathis Airport Parkway.

The license holder, Jose Rodriguez, was cited June 20 after sheriff’s deputies discovered an advertisement for a free alcoholic drink for dads on Father’s Day, though the discounted drinks were never served.

Such specials are prohibited by the county’s alcohol ordinance.

“[Authorities] attempted an underage sale, which was in fact unsuccessful, at the premises. But while on the premises ... [Chepe’s staff] were put on notice that an advertisement of this special was in fact a violation,” Jarrard said.

Rodriguez told commissioners the ad was sent out via e-mail. About 30 minutes after he was cited, he sent out another notice offering a meal at half price for fathers instead of the drink special.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the citation in Magistrate Court and paid a $135 fine.

His attorney, Elliott Smith, explained that the plea was easier than going through a trial.

Jarrard told the commission its vote would not mean the violation didn’t occur.