EL PASO, Texas - A bar in the Cincinnati Entertainment District may be penalized for its part in the Miguel Vargas case.
ABC-7 learned the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission is pursing administrative action against the Marco Polo bar. TABC says they have the evidence to prove Marco Polo served Vargas' group while they were already intoxicated and some of them were underage. Penalties for violating the terms of a liquor license are brutal, which is why Cincinnati District bar owners work everyday to avoid them.
The tricky part about owning a bar is to attract people, but the right people, and to serve alcohol, but not too much.
The Marco Polo Dive bar in the Cincinnati District may have broken both these rules for serving alcohol.
"Do the TABC penalties scare you?" ABC-7 Reporter Ashlie Rodriguez asked Anthony Duncan, owner of numerous Cincinnati District bars including the Corner Tavern and Grill.
"Absolutely they do," Duncan answered.
Duncan said he feels bad for Marco Polo.
"You hate to see anything bad happen to any bar any time," he said.
If TABC proves Marco Polo over-served Vargas, Idaly Reyes and Kim Araujo, while serving Stacy Reyes and Nefi Armendariz who were under 21 at the time, the bar could be hit hard, even shut down.
"They can come back and either fine you or try to take your license away from you or they can see at the same time that there was no cause for any kind of fine because sometimes it's not the bar's fault.," Duncan said.
A TABC spokesperson tells ABC-7 they've got enough evidence to implicate Marco Polo and they may even pursue the bartender who served Vargas. The threat of a TABC investigation keeps bartender Thomas Ridlehuber sharp.
"Its very difficult because if you have a large clientele base at the bar at the moment," Ridlehuber said. "You have to know how much you served each one and keep tabs on them."
The ABC-7 I-Team has learned the Marco Polo bar is registered to George Cisneros. Government records also show the restaurant GeoGeske, or G-2, is also registered to Cisneros. ABC-7 reached out to Cisneros for comment but he declined.