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JAMES M THOMPSON: Florida Regulator Suspends Beverage License

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An emergency suspension of the alcoholic beverage license of James M. Thompson Two LLC d/b/a Rusty’s Raw Bar and Grill was issued by Department of Business and Professional Regulation of the State of Florida on the evening of August 10, 2020, the same day the Debtors filed a motion to extend their exclusivity periods.

On March 20, 2020, to protect the public health, safety, and welfare from the dangers associated with COVID-19, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended all sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises by all vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

On June 3, 2020, under Executive Order 20-139, Phase 2 issued by Governor DeSantis, restaurants, bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, were permitted to operate at 50% of their indoor capacity, excluding employees. But when positive cases increased significantly during the rest of the month, and some of it involved younger individuals, establishments with the said license were being suspected.

On July 1, 2020, the Department issued Amended Emergency Order 2020-09 clarifying the vendors licensed but not licensed to offer food service must suspend sales of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

On August 8, 2020, JMT2, which operates as a special food service establishment, was found operating in violation the State’s mandate that restaurants limit capacity to 50% of its normal capacity, when more than 200 patrons were observed inside the premises with a long line outside and social distancing measures were not being enforced.

According to the Debtors, the emergency suspension “obviously created significant disruption” to their operations.

JMT2 is in the process of appealing the DBPR Order.

The Debtors have sought an extension of their exclusivity periods. The Debtors said they could have filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization and Joint Disclosure Statement on the August 12th deadline, however, the Debtors, specifically JMT2, now need additional time to make adjustments to their financial affairs.

The Debtors said they have security camera footage and other resources that will demonstrate that JMT2 was in compliance with the 50% capacity ordinance, but they are unable to complete the necessary financial disclosures at this time.

The Debtors expect a formal proceeding will be promptly instituted and acted upon in compliance with sections 120.569, 120.57, and 120.60(6) Florida Statutes.

About James M. Thompson Enterprises

James M. Thompson Enterprises, Inc., is the parent company of several entities. James M. Thompson, Jr. controls the majority ownership in all of the companies by way of his ownership of JMTE.

On Oct. 1, 2019, JMTE and five affiliates filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions (Bankr. M.D. Fla. Lead Case No. 19-09351) in Fort Myers, Florida. JMTE estimated assets of not more than
$50,000 and liabilities of between $500,000 and $1 million.

The affiliates are James M. Thompson One, LLC (Case No.19-09353); James M. Thompson Two, LLC (Case No. 19-093540; James M. Thompson Three, LLC (Case No. 19-09355); James M. Thompson Four, LLC (Case No.19-093570; and James M. Thompson Cape Coral, LLC (Case No. 19-09358).

Dal Lago Law is the Debtor’s legal counsel.

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