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Lawsuit over Utah liquor license ends ahead of trial

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Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 16:55:39-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A civil lawsuit filed by a bar against Utah's alcohol control authority has ended a head of trial in what appears to be a deal.

Court papers show Button Down's owners, T & J Jazz Holdings and John Vecchi, agreed to surrender their liquor license. In exchange, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agreed to not forfeit the license.

"The parties came to a point where resolving the case was in the best interest of each party. The Commission was willing to set aside the forfeiture if Mr. Vecchi surrendered the license. The judge agreed, entered her order and dismissed the case. Net result is that Button Down Bar is no longer in business," the DABC said in a statement to FOX 13.

The case has been an unusual one since last year, when the DABC Commission forfeited the bar's license over allegations it didn't properly disclose ownership interests. The commission turned around and gave that license to someone else. T & J Jazz Holdings and Vecchi sued, arguing the forfeiture was improper, and 3rd District Court Judge Laura Scott reversed the DABC.

Because there was no license available, the judge let the bar open and continue to serve under a court order while the litigation continued. Social media posts show Button Down apparently hadn't been open since April because of COVID-19.

Monday was supposed to be the start of trial, but the case ended in the settlement. Court records show Vecchi is also facing an eviction proceeding and is involved in an ongoing contract dispute lawsuit.