The owner of Excuses Lounge in Perkins Township knew the health department was unhappy with him, but he says he didn’t know until last week he was facing more than $21,000 in fines for smoking violations.
Terry Smith, 54, a veteran in the bar business, says he’s worried that if the state of Ohio goes through with threats to take away his liquor license, he’ll lose his livelihood.
But he’s also angry at the health department because he believes he’s been singled out for enforcement.
“I’m going to lose my car, lose my home, everything,” he said.
The Erie County Health Department’s figures show bars in the county owe $31,400 in unpaid fines for smoking violations. Excuses Lounge accounts for $21,500 of that.
Smith believes the county health department is specifically targeting his establishment, but health commissioner Pete Schade said his workers only investigate violations after receiving complaints.
Pick up Friday's Register to read more about Smith's predicament and how the state is planning to revoke liquor licenses from bars that don't pay their fines.