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VOL. 125 | NO. 100 | Monday, May 24, 2010

Daq Drama Raises More Ownership Questions

By Bill Dries

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The case of a Southeast Memphis restaurant with no beer permit, beer for sale and a complex ownership history got more curious last week as the saga appeared to come to an end.

Keevon Morgan, the Nashville man who said he was the owner of The Daq, took the Fifth before the Shelby County Beer Board when members asked him more questions about the club’s ownership.

One of the owners of the building on Hacks Cross Road said his signature was forged on an amended lease that listed Morgan as the owner of The Daq.

Morgan said he was withdrawing his application for a beer permit, leaving only a citation for serving beer without a permit over a three-week period. The beer board voted to fine him $500.

Under questioning from beer board chairman Merrick Horne, Morgan said The Daq no longer serves beer, but that it does serve other alcoholic beverages through a nonprofit group he identified as “Friends Recreation Youth Center.”

The nonprofit has a permit to serve the alcoholic beverages and serves them separately from waiters at The Daq, with the group keeping the proceeds, according to Morgan.

“My manager deals with that,” Morgan said.

The restaurant at 4202 Hacks Cross Road now bills itself as a “cigar and sushi bar.”

WooSoo Properties LLC owns the building, which was leased to a company called The Daiquiri Works, also called The Daq. The original lease showed Rochelle Durham and Gene Adams as guarantors.

A second lease Morgan produced over the past two months showed Morgan as the new owner, or guarantor, on the lease. He also told the beer board again Thursday that he owns 97 percent of the business.

But Steve Kim, one of several owners of WooSoo Properties, examined the second lease and said his signature had been forged on the amended lease.

“The signatures on this one are forged,” he told the beer board.

Beer board chairman Merrick Horne questioned Morgan closely about the differing leases.

Beer board hearings require applicants and those cited for beer violations to take an oath before they speak to the board.

When Morgan continued to say he wouldn’t answer questions about the ownership of The Daq, Horne asked if he was invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege. Morgan said he was.

The beer permit requested in March triggered an investigation by the Shelby County Attorney’s office, when Horne complained that an aide to the County Commission called him at home to speed the processing of the permit.

The aide, Clay Perry, denied any wrongdoing. He said he doesn’t know Morgan and simply made an inquiry.

No criminal wrongdoing has been alleged in the report by Deputy County Attorney Danny Presley, who watched last week’s beer board hearing from a seat on the front row.

Perry was not involved in Thursday’s hearing.

The Daq began serving beer in March despite not having a permit. Morgan said in April that he believed a receipt that he had received upon filing an application

for a beer permit was the beer permit itself.

He estimated the club served beer for about three weeks, but said he had no idea how many individual violations that amounted to.

The board voted to fine him $500 on the single violation he was cited for by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department. He has until June 15 to pay the fine to the Shelby County Clerk’s office.

PROPERTY SALES 56 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 49 49 10,665
BUILDING PERMITS 212 212 21,170
BANKRUPTCIES 49 49 6,157