“I don't know AJ that well,” local businessman Rick Van Donsler said. He shared the story of how Mottet offered to ensure that one of Van Donsler's employees, with a drinking problem, always had a ride home. The employee had several issues with law enforcement before this promise was made. Since Mottet made the pledge, Van Donsler says the employee has had no issues.
“We haven't had any claims from Dingus,” Megan McKay-Ziller, insurance agent for Dingus, told the council, in regard to liability for alcohol-related accidents. She added that, from a risk-management perspective, she is glad Mottet keeps people in the bar to provide a safe ride home.
“They are worried about getting in trouble,” Mottet said of his customers. “They can't afford it.”
He said he and his staff have taken people home at all hours of the night. Mottet also reminded the council of his charitable contributions, and the tax revenue his bar has produced over the past 12 years.
“I like the town,” Mottet said. “I choose to live here.”
Mottet told the council that he believes he has a good relationship with Police Chief Dan Losada and the KPD overall. Losada agreed. Mottet asked to pay a fine instead of taking a 10-day suspension, as the closure of his business for that time would financially hurt his employees.
Losada said the KPD has not had a problem with other bars having people out by 2 a.m. He said he has had “minimal problems” with Dingus, but the fact that people were found in the establishment after hours, on two consecutive nights, raises concern. The rule has been in effect in Knoxville since the 1980s, before Losada was hired by the City.
Mottet was disappointed that his bar was checked due to an anonymous letter. He called the unsigned complaint “chicken.”