Article Comment 

Tax Commission: Ruben's liquor license to be revoked


Dispatch Staff Report



Ruben''s Fish House has been notified its alcoholic beverage sales permit is being revoked. 


Mississippi Tax Commission spokesperson Katy Waterbury confirmed this morning official notice of intent to revoke the permit has been sent to Ruben''s. An investigation into the May 31 death of John Caldwell, who died of acute alcohol poisoning at the restaurant on Moore''s Creek Road, revealed Ruben''s employees were in violation of selling alcohol to a customer who was visibly intoxicated, having a manager on the premises who was intoxicated and allowing the customer to have control of a liquor bottle. In Mississippi, restaurants and bars can only sell liquor by the glass. 


Waterbury said any of the three violations are sufficient cause to revoke a liquor permit. 


Ruben''s owner Danny Blakeney, who was not available for comment this morning, has until Aug. 2 to appeal to the State Board of Tax Appeals or surrender the permit. The permit is valid until Aug. 2. 


Employees Joey Cox and Dylan Hicks turned themselves in to Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement personnel in June to face charges of selling/furnishing alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person. The maximum penalty for each, if convicted, would be a fine of $500 and six months in jail. 


Caldwell, 46, of Columbus died after participating in a drinking game with Cox, who was off duty, in the Loft, Ruben''s upstairs bar. 


Over the course of about an hour, the two men tried to out-drink each other before employees took them downstairs away from the bar to sleep it off. Cox regained consciousness and left, and Caldwell''s body was found later in the night.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/16/2010 7:12:00 PM:

The good news is now the drunks won't have to fall down the stairs to get to their cars.


Article Comment td commented at 7/16/2010 10:09:00 PM:

Great news. The ABC acted responsibly. Obviously the manager and employees didn't.


Article Comment stormy commented at 7/17/2010 3:18:00 AM:

Heaven forbid they if they were cought smoking and drinking.. they would just have to close the doors!! With events like this happening, I still can not figure out why everyone is so happy to extend the drinking hours and places. Can they not see that Alcoholic Beverages kill people just like smoking does, except that with drinking you tend to take others out with you.


Article Comment trickid53 commented at 7/17/2010 3:22:00 AM:

While I agree that this gentleman holds a responsibility for his actions, I have to say that this is the EXACT "reason" the laws and obligations for a bartender and/or bar owner are in place!
It's for this very purpose." This is a very sad situation on both ends, but again, an intoxicated person lacks the proper judgment and "reasonable" decision making ability to know when to say when. This is why the laws are in place for bartenders to CUT individuals off when needed.
I feel for this family and the loss of their loved one and I also feel for the bartenders who were (In my opinion) not trained properly by management to know HOW or WHEN to do what was needed in this situation.. No way should this man, or the employee who participated, have such a high alcohol content.. They should never have been allowed to consume alcohol to this degree! PLEASE don't say that NO ONE knew that they were not "obviously" intoxicated to the point where they should not have been cut off.. This gentleman's BAC was enough to kill a horse.... Not to mention, the survivor of the drinking game left before the coroner arrived, uh, why???.. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and I hope that this will be a reminder to all businesses to educate and train their employee's that serve alcohol of their responsibilities and why it is important to take control and make the judgment for those who can't do so because they have had too much to know the difference!


Article Comment kj commented at 7/17/2010 12:14:00 PM:

"I still can not figure out why everyone is so happy to extend the drinking hours and places."

Perhaps because the flag still stands for freedom even when we would prefer to be placed into warm fuzzy cocoons of safety--protected from sharp implements, mean people, and even ourselves.


Article Comment doj commented at 7/17/2010 2:00:00 PM:

kj, do you know the diference between Methodist and Baptists? Baptists don't aknowledge each other in the liquor store.


Article Comment sober commented at 7/18/2010 1:19:00 AM:

I am very sorry for the family for there loss !! I drank for many years and I have had many bartenders and owners drink with me till I to passed out. By the grace of God there go I. I am very grateful that my family is not having to go through the pain of me dyeing from alcohol abuse. So many times they would try and cut me off but I would rase so much h... they would give me another drink just to shut me up. When they would cut me off I would just go somewhere else. Alcohol was my life !!! There are way to many times I should of died but God spared me. I finally got beat down so bad from drinking and ruining my life I ask God to help me ! He answered my prayer. I am an active member of AA and by the grace of God I have been sober almost three years now. I am trying to rebuild my life as I speak and I live a reasonably happy life now. I drank to escape life. Now I live. This was not the first time he ever drank this way unfortunately it was just his time. Yes by law they were at fault for drinking with him and still serving him but really, was it there fault or just his time ????????? Think about it, those of us with drinking problems have all done the same thing ! We either get help or we die, no exceptions !!! I am an alcoholic and it could or should of been me, it would of only been my fault !! I will Pray for all the familys involved !!


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 7/21/2010 4:29:00 PM:

So, will the Health department be taking the licenses away from fat people who have heart attacks in a restaurant? I mean they DID serve them fatty foods. How about car dealers? I mean DRIVING is the leading cause of CAR ACCIDENTS.

It is getting RIDICULOUS. Some of you people are jumping for joy over the destruction of two young men's lives and the closing of a TAX REVENUE GENERATING BUSINESS, because some guy drank himself to death. He woke UP with a drink, went to BED with a drink, and he DIED from drinking. Not really a shocker, is it?

Joey and Dylan were and still are fine people. Did they make mistakes? Of course, we all do. Funny how Joey being drunk doesn't excuse HIS actions, but being drunk is the excuse for the dummy that killed himself drinking, huh?

And for those of you who say that you can TELL if someone is drunk or not? You OBVIOUSLY have ZERO experince in a bar. People who drink a lot can appear completely sober, especially when sitting on a bar stool. Or do you think that we should make a patron pass a sobriety test before we serve them alcohol? What happened to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

Oh yeah, there is no more of that, this is now America, where the government will make sure you only have enough freedom to keep you from moving OUT.


Article Comment trickid53 commented at 8/5/2010 11:00:00 PM:

Uh? NO, Zenreaper!! But your sure as heck don't set a fifth or a liter bottle of whiskey in front of them and as an "employee" participate in a drinking contest with them, along with encouragement from management to see who passes out first! This business lost their licence for "BREAKING THE ABC LAWS!" Alcohol is served by the GLASS, not by the liter! There is a reason this law is in place!! So, your saying that because he is a so called "DUMMY", that the laws should not apply to the gentleman/employees that participated and that this establishment should not be held accountable? Are you on crack or something, seriously!! This gentleman (not DUMMY as you called him- so disrespectful, by the way) absolutely owns personal responsibility for his actions, however, these 2 other gentlemen should also OWN up and acknowledge their part in this tragedy.. I also have to ask how YOU would know that this man woke UP with a drink and went to BED with a drink? I have been told by many that John was a good, hardworking man that worked fir one of the largest crane and rigging company's in the US..Hmmm.. How close were you with him that you would know his daily routine?


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