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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
The owner of a popular east Nashville restaurant and music venue said the city crossed the line when a dozen officials showed up to inspect the business.
"Outraged. I feel like there is a way of going about things, and there is a definite way to not go about things," said Jamie Rubin, owner of The Family Wash.
Last Friday night, the city's environmental task force showed up for an inspection. A spokeswoman for Metro police says it was routine and just part of the restaurant's license renewal process.
Twelve officials from the health department, codes department, beer board, fire marshal's office and police department took part in the inspection.
The police spokeswoman said the group was larger than normal because several of the people were in training.
However, Rubin said the group's arrival scared away customers and cost him money.
He also said he was told to get rid of beer they claimed he wasn't licensed to have.
"They are wrong, and I knew they were wrong because I just renewed that permit in February," Rubin said. "I mean, it cost me a night of - two nights of - business, really, because Saturday night I couldn't sell the high-gravity beer."
Metro disputes the claim that alcohol was destroyed and say no customers left because the team arrived. They also didn't check any patrons' IDs.
"I'm concerned, because if it can happen to one, it could happen to all," said Randy Rayburn, owner of Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe and Cabana.
Rayburn and others spent the day making calls and writing emails to council members and the mayor, demanding answers.
"I've been in the business 40-plus years in the Nashville market and have never heard of this going on on a regular basis," Rayburn said. "I support reasonable regulatory behavior that protects the health and safety of the public, but raiding an establishment and having the customers be afraid they are caught up in a raid, this is just unreasonable in a city known for its hospitality."
Officials said they do about 12 to 15 of these inspections each year, and they go in at night because they focus on after-hours establishments. They wear big vests so they can be easily seen in a busy business.
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