New Mexico

Controversial Doña Ana County restaurant ownership narrowly gets liquor license

Chef was formerly convicted of felony child abuse

Pizza shop liquor license

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Doña Ana County Commissioners approved a license for a new restaurant, but some were concerned about a former child abuse conviction in the owner's family.

"This is a person who is a potential danger to the community," said Peter Goodman, a local attorney and columnist.

'Forghedaboudit Southwest Italian Cuisine' is owned by Kimberly Yacone, who is married to Bob Yacone, the restaurant's head chef.

"My spouse does not own any partnership in the business," Kimberly told commissioners on Tuesday. "I am 100 percent owner."

Bob Yacone pleaded guilty to a felony child abuse charge in 2014. However, his attorney at the time told commissioners that charge was dropped.

"The felony charges were all dismissed, there was a plea to a misdemeanor," said George Harrison, who represented Yacone on that charge.

"The judge basically gave him a deferred sentence, placing him on probation for two years," explained County Manager Fernando Macias, a former judge with extensive knowledge of New Mexico law. "(Yacone) successfully completed that probation, therefore resulting in the dismissal of the charges."

In the state of New Mexico, the spouse of someone convicted of a felony cannot get a liquor license unless "the person demonstrates that the convicted spouse will have no involvement in the operation of the license."

"I am sole owner of the business," said Kimberly Yacone.

Commissioner Manny Sanchez took issue with a previous restaurant scandal: a social media job post that appeared to have been posted from Bob Yacone's account.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Bob Yacone posted "Hiring top notch servers... No dreamers, homeless or IHOP people need apply. New York attitude is a plus." 

Kimberly Yacone claims to have hired a third-party social media manager.

"Once I found out that post was up, it was taken down immediately and that third-party person was fired for ever doing my social media again," she said.

Commissioners approved the liquor license in a vote of 3 to 2, with Commissioner Manny Sanchez abstaining and Commissioner Shannon Reynolds voting no.

And just after the meeting, someone posted on the restaurant's social media page called Commissioner Reynolds a "pompous ass."

"Shannon Reynolds is no friend of Forghedaboudit!!" the post read. "Today at a local hearing on our liquor license approval this county commissioner upset Kim as she fought tooth and nail as he bashed me and our successful family business and tried to prevent us from owning a liquor license. He may not like me but I guarantee he will see us again come elections to get his pompous ass out!!"

Commissioner Reynolds did not immediately return a call for comment.


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