Passions Sports Bar, site of two killings, ordered to close

After two killings, regular fighting and accusations of underage drinking, the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission is forcing a Fort Worth Avenue pool hall to close because of fraudulent accounting and unpaid taxes. The commission ordered Passions Sports Bar to close July 23.

The bar had been a target of the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, which is redeveloping part of the West Commerce/Fort Worth Avenue corridor.

"There were a lot of anecdotal stories from people in the neighborhood that there was after hours drinking going on there and some fighting," said Scott Griggs, the group’s president. "So last May, we hired an off duty police officer to stand across the street and watch was going on for two nights."

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That resulted in citations for things like public intoxication, urinating in public, minor in possession and open containers. So the group complained to the state commission that regulates alcohol sales. The commission raided the club and accused the owners of fraudulent accounting and not paying taxes. Then, one night in September, 35-year-old Victor Jiminez was fatally shot at Passions.

The commission decided on June 1 to order the place to close, and the owners had 30 days to appeal the decision. Then, on June 10, 33-year-old Jesse Aguinaga was shot down at Passions, too. And the owners didn’t appeal the commission’s decision, so barring something unusual, the place won’t be allowed to serve alcohol after July 23. 

The bar’s owner, David Cantu Jr., wasn’t home when I called. His mom answered, and said she didn’t think he’d talk to me. She said Cantu owns the building, but he doesn’t operate the business. Cantu has been named in a lawsuit related to one of the killings.

Griggs said the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group would like to see someone else buy the property, and anyone trying to open a similar business on the site is going to get a similar fight. "We would oppose anyone trying to get a license from TABC to operate," he said.

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