ONLY ON 3: 'Da Building' owner defends his event hall business - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: 'Da Building' owner defends his event hall business

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Dexter Staples, owner 'Da Building' event hall, speaks to the Chattanooga Beer Board Thursday. Dexter Staples, owner 'Da Building' event hall, speaks to the Chattanooga Beer Board Thursday.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The fight against un-regulated 'event halls' in Chattanooga is intensifying. Residents went before the beer board Thursday, to voice their concerns about the violence, noise and underage drinking at businesses off East Main Street and Dodds Avenue.  

Dexter Staples owns 'Da Building.' In the early morning hours of July 5th a young man was shot and killed in the parking lot. After an uproar from community members, the city says it is taking a closer look at not only his operation, but also other event halls accused of hosting late-night parties and illegally serving alcohol.

"Here recently, I take the blame for it. But a lot of it was my management," says Dexter Staples.

In a bold move, Dexter staples went before the Chattanooga Beer Board to defend questionable practices of his event hall.

"We were closed. We were not open. They guy that got killed, I actually know his family," says Staples.

Staples says beer is distributed at parties inside the building.

"They have to sign a contract and on the contract it says, 'no more than 72 beers at any given time,' which is three cases."

Distribution of three cases is within the law. Any more than that would require a permit.

"Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but all people that have event halls may not know you have to have a permit, until something comes up," says Staples.

Police say their hands are tied, since operations like 'Da Building,' and another event hall on East Main Street, work around the law.

"A lot of these places have cameras. And they'll see police come anywhere near the lot. Of course they alert their 'patrons.' 2510 has been a problem for years. We've literally had calls where the officers got on scene and they were mopping up blood of a crime scene," says Sgt. Mark Haskins with the Chattanooga Police Department.

"It is a well, thought out cloud that hangs over these places," says area business owner Gary Ball.

In the meantime, neighbors want a solution.

"It's all young kids. All you hear is the loud...two blocks up, some nights wake me up. I hear the music. I hate to think what the people that live down there, I don't know how they sleep," says resident Tammy Hass.

When asked about the public's reactions to his business, Staples says, "I think it's more of an exaggeration and the comparison is unwarranted."

Staples says he wants to make it right.

"I'll talk with my attorney and deal with the appropriate people to get whatever satisfied and get the people satisfied," he says.

The city attorney at Thursday's beer board meeting says city officials already have a conversation started on how to regulate the halls. In the meantime, the murder that happened two weeks ago remains unsolved.

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