CBS7 INVESTIGATES: Odessa bar and grill pegged as 'Hotbed for Criminal Activity' being sued by county
It may look like your average bar and grill from the outside, but local law enforcement has pegged Halftime Grill & Cantina as a “hotbed for criminal activity.”
The State of Texas has already put a temporary restraining order on the restaurant and Ector County is now suing the owners and managers.
After some more digging, the CBS7 Investigates team found out that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has also been on Halftime’s tail for other violations.
The state originally slapped the temporary restraining order on Halftime Grill & Cantina back on December 18, 2019. It was later extended for being a “Common Nuisance.”
The state forced the restaurant to only be open for five and a half hours a day - from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 pm - most of January.
Court documents claim Halftime and its owners, managers and employees are knowingly tolerating criminal activity - things like “aggravated assault, narcotics possession and distribution, and unlawful possession of firearms.”
The state also claims that “the owners have enjoyed a steady stream of income from overly intoxicated patrons who conduct these illegal activities on the premises.”
Over the course of about two years, documents show police arrested 335 people on the property and responded to Halftime an average of about four times a week.
In a statement to the CBS7 Investigates team, Ector County Attorney Dusty Gallivan explained why a lawsuit was filed against Halftime Grill & Cantina.
He stated in part: "The essence of the case is that Halftime has failed to provide a safe environment to the public. We have asked them to take certain measures to protect their customers as well as the general public.”
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has also filed away several complaints, violations and has even opened a few investigations into the business over the last two years.
Halftime has been caught twice selling and allowing minors to have alcohol.
Back in 2018, an undercover operation also confirmed that Halftime failed to report violent incidents, such as fights, to TABC.
Although, the most striking investigations begun by TABC have been those related to Halftime overserving its customers.
The Department of Public Safety made a complaint in mid-2018, after it pulled over a man, coming from Halftime, that was driving while intoxicated. It stated he was almost two times over the legal limit.
Two other underage girls were also in the vehicle drunk, according to the TABC complaint.
Most recently, at the end of June 2019, a complaint was made to TABC stating someone “had large amounts of alcohol on tab, left [Halftime] and fell out of moving vehicle. Subject deceased.”
The TABC complaint is still under investigation.
The CBS7 Investigates team spoke to one of the Halftime managers. He said he they have had to juggle with some issues like any local bar has.
Another employee was advised by the attorney representing Halftime Grill & Cantina not to speak about the case any further.
The CBS7 Investigates team will continue to follow this lawsuit and will bring you more as it goes through court.