A series of shootings outside bars and nightclubs has led the City of Houston to sue a local business and the property owner. This comes days after Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was boosting enforcement to crackdown on violent incidents at nightclubs and bars.
A lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon, seeking a temporary restraining order against the Tabu Restaurant and Lounge, located off Richmond Avenue in the Galleria area, after six people were injured last weekend. The lawsuit states the business violated city codes and state laws, such as selling and serving alcohol without a TABC license and operating without a valid Certificate of Occupancy, posing a health and safety risk.
The business has failed to take responsibility for recurring nuisance behavior at the nightclub, according to the lawsuit. There have been multiple criminal activities since January 2022 mentioning aggravated assault, robbery, and murder and numerous HPD citations.
“The escalation of these shootings resulted in death on June 11, 2023, and six patrons becoming victims of gun violence,” the lawsuit said.
Aside from the temporary injunction, the city is pursuing closure of the Tabu Restaurant, prohibiting any future owners from operating at the facility until it’s up to code and all proper permits are obtained.
“An order of closure is the only remedy reasonably likely to prevent the use of the Property as a common nuisance pending further hearing,” the lawsuit said.
The PHCG Investments, another defendant in the lawsuit, is a company owned by the Pappas Restaurants Company. Christina Pappas, Director of Marketing said in a written statement, the company was just made aware of the lawsuit.
“The recent events have brought to our attention multiple lease violations by the tenant,” she said. “We are working to terminate the lease as soon as possible.”
The city has been working to find additional measures to handle bars and nightclubs. On Wednesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner affirmed that lawsuits were coming forth to businesses that are not in accordance with city rules and codes.
“We’re taking a look at all of these businesses, especially those after-hours businesses, to make sure whether or not they have the occupancy license, and all of the things that they need to operate,” said Turner.
City Council recently passed a BYOB ordinance, requiring “after-hours” businesses operating as BYOB and are not certified by the TABC to obtain a permit and follow a number of measures in order to operate. Mayor Turner also mentioned a new city ordinance that may require businesses to use metal detector wands to prohibit customers from bringing guns into nightclubs and bars.
Houston Public Media reached out to Tabu Restaurant and Lounge for comment, but did not hear back from them.
– Written by Ashley Brown