DENVER (CBS4) – The owner of a liquor license at Cabin Tap House, where a double fatal New Year’s Eve shooting occurred, surrendered the license Tuesday. That license was still in the name of a former lease holder of the property — Chris Black.
Black closed Falling Rock Tap House at the location at 1919 Blake Street in the middle of last year.
Denver Excise and Licensing spokesman Eric Escudero said an application for transfer of the liquor license to the Cabin Tap House was pending, but the applicant, Thomas Schaefer, “Had not received a permit to operate legally at the time of the shooting.”
Schaeffer’s role in the management or ownership of the club is not clear. The club property was being purchased from the landlord by Hussam Kayali (also known as Valentes Corleons), who was known as the owner of both Cabin and the Beta Event Center next door.
Beta had its liquor license revoked by Excise and Licensing on the Jan. 7 for multiple liquor license and public safety violations. Black said there were multiple problems at Beta next door before his business closed after 24 years of operations.
Cabin had no record of disciplinary action at the time of the shooting. That shooting inside Cabin on New Year’s Eve left a man and woman dead and two other men wounded.
Black says he signed over the rights to the liquor license to the landlord when he vacated the property at the beginning of July. He says he had no further involvement.
“I did not have physical possession of the building and had nothing to do with it,” said Black.
Escudero said Cabin was, “Not supposed to operate until that transfer is approved.”
Kayali did not return a message from CBS4 seeking comment.
Black said Beta’s uncontrolled crowds would prevent people from coming into Falling Rock and other businesses had troubles too.
“They have seen a severe impact on their business because it’s really sad because the other people on that block, they’ve all been there for years too.”
The city’s concerns about Beta may have led to a hesitancy to approve a liquor license for Kayali.
“The problems with the license next door became so great that the original applicant withdrew his application in November and substituted somebody new for that. I wasn’t notified by Excise and License. I don’t think they have a procedure for that,” said Black.
Escudero said with the huge number of liquor licenses in the city, it was not possible to check on whether they are being operated by the people on the license.
A show cause hearing about the rare summary suspension of the license that was to take place on Tuesday afternoon was continued after Black filed the paperwork to surrender the liquor license minutes before it was to start.
He says that came after discussions with the Denver City Attorney’s office.
“They are giving me a letter stipulating that he had no control of the licensure or premises after July 1 of last year.”
The liquor license was still in the name of Blake Street Café Grill as it had been when Black was under control. Kayali had previously applied for transfer of the license, but withdrew that application in November.
It was later re-filed with Schaeffer as applicant. It’s not clear whether Schaeffer is a partner, part owner or had another role. The hearing would have resulted in an official determination about whether Kayali was operating the business with a properly transferred license or not at the time of the multiple shooting said Escudero.