Bar faces penalty for TABC violation

By Caty Hirst
City Editor

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is forcing Mynar’s Bar to close its doors for seven days after the death of a 19-year-old Navarro College student last March.

Megan Helal died the morning of March 21, 2010, after she was found unresponsive in the Arbor’s apartment complex.

Although an autopsy report found that alcohol was not the cause of death, investigations show that Helal and other minors illegally obtained alcohol at an unauthorized Baylor Sigma Chi fraternity party held at Mynar’s Bar, located at 121 Oak Street in West.

In addition to a seven-day suspension of its permit starting in February, Mynar’s has until Feb. 8 to pay a $6,900 fine or must stay closed for the remainder of the month.

Carolyn Beck, director of communications for the TABC, said the bar did not receive violations for serving alcohol to minors, but for violating the place and manner section of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.

“It says that their permit can be suspended or canceled if the place or manner the applicant conducts business warrants the denial of the permit,” Beck said. “It is sort of a catch all, and there are a lot of things that fall under that, but, generally speaking, running an establishment in a way that is unsafe.”

Beck said the punishment was determined by using a penalty chart that outlines the suggested penalties for infractions and by working with the attorney for the location. She also said since a settlement was signed between the TABC and Mynar’s, the issue will not need to go to court.

The settlement agreement was signed Dec. 20 and became official Jan. 10.

According to Abel Reyna, district attorney of McLennan County, the charges against the individuals involved in the case were refused Dec. 30, 2010. The owner of the bar, Linda McWilliams, and bartenders Carol Baker and Amy Free were originially facing criminal charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor, but the District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges because there was “insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” according to the report. The charges against Baylor students Matt Crowe and Brandon Bingham were also refused.