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TABC Agent Named in Rainbow Lounge Report Has Boss Investigated For Public Comments

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission just sent along a press release in which it acknowledges that the agency's general counsel and Office of Professional Responsibility (otherwise known as Internal Affairs) are

investigating Administrator Alan Steen. For what? For comments he made to the media during the days and weeks after the agency's raid on the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth. Steen apologized in July, saying that "I don't think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies"; the TABC's internal investigation, released at the beginning of August, revealed which three, among them Agent Christoper Aller.

According to the release this morning, "Agent Christopher Aller filed a formal complaint against Steen dated July 24, 2009," with the TABC Commissioners, who met Tuesday to discuss the complaint. Two commissioners, Steve Weinberg and Melinda Fredricks, voted to ask General Counsel Lou Bright and Captain Andy Pena of Internal Affairs to investigate Steen "regarding public comments he made during the Rainbow Lounge investigation"; said Fredricks, "I have great confidence in and respect for Alan Steen's leadership. My vote in no way should be seen as anything other than following procedure when an allegation has been made."

The Commissioners' chair, Jose Cuevas, voted against the inquiry, saying,"This is strictly a management issue and does not require an inquiry of any sort. TABC has always been open, transparent and accessible to the public and media. Administrator Steen has given numerous interviews during his tenure with the TABC, and I know the other Commissioners would agree that he and his staff should continue to be open and accessible." A report is due to the commissioners by October 27.

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