Dec 22, 2011 11:09 PM by Maddie Garrett

Downtown Bars Re-File Lawsuit Against LCG

In a tie vote this week, Lafayette Consolidated Government shot down the proposal to end the downtown bar levy. But some bar owners aren't giving up their fight against the levy, and are re-filing a lawsuit in federal court.

As David Lawson gets ready to open his bar on Jefferson Ave. Thursday night, he's also mentally preparing for a legal battle.

"The tax stays, thus the next step for us is to go to the federal court appellate system," said Lawson, owner of Bootleggers.

Bootleggers, along with four other downtown bars, have stopped paying a fee mandated by LCG to fund extra police detail in the downtown area on the weekends. They're waiting to see if a federal judge rules the levy constitutional or not.

"Everybody wanted to fight it, nobody knew exactly if it was constitutional or not. We just want to know, we just want to know. If at the end of the day we have to pay for it then we have to pay for it," said Lawson.

But Lawson also wants to set the record straight. He said the lawsuit is not an attack on police, or even about saving money, it's about their rights as business owners.

"The whole thing is, it's an added tax and we just want to see if it's constitutional or not, that's the beginning, the middle, the end," explained Lawson.

LCG Councilman Brandon Shelvin said despite the fact that his proposal to do away with the levy was shot down, he's not giving up either.

"The next step, go back to the drawing board, re-assess things. We are going to have a new council come in January, I'll get with the new guys, see if they want to consider supporting it and bring it back up again," said Shelvin at Tuesday's meeting.

In the meantime, LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley said they plan to decide Friday on what action, if any, they'll take against the five bars not paying the levy.



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