Hispanic siblings sue Eagle trustees
DENVER – Two Hispanic siblings whose liquor license in Eagle was not renewed filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the town treated them differently than Anglo bar owners.Mary and Steven Rodriguez, owners of El Tejano, said in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that town trustees decided Aug. 21, 2002, not to renew the license due to the sale of alcohol to a minor and dispensation of alcohol after hours.The siblings said that during that time, an Anglo bar that was charged with violations relating to disturbances there received a five-day suspension of its license and probation, options the trustees allegedly refused to consider for the Rodriguezes.The lawsuit alleged that Steven Rodriguez, convicted of serving minors, was believed to be the only person to lose a liquor license and also be criminally charged. The siblings said they had to close the bar, and they are seeking unspecified damages.The lawsuit was filed against the town Board of Trustees, the Police Department and former Police Chief Philip Biersdorfer. At a special meeting on Aug. 21, 2002, the Eagle Town Board refused to renew the liquor license for the El Tejano nightclub. Municipal Judge Buck Allen had recommended denial of the club’s liquor license application.That decision came after liquor code violations hearing the Rodriguezes defended their operation. At that hearing, an 18-year-old Eagle woman testified that she had been a patron in the bar five times, and was served alcohol each time, without ever showing identification that would verify her age.Eagle Valley Enterprise reporter Kathy Heicher contributed to this report.