FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- A Fort Myers Beach hangout is busted for allegedly selling alcohol without a license. The Division of Alcohol Beverages and Tobacco confiscated 80 bottles of booze last night, and the owner is now heading to court.
Carl Conley says ABT got it all wrong.
"I'm not gangster Al Capone, running some crazy speakeasy. This is a civic organization that got pinched by a massive sting," Conley said Friday.
About 40 members of the Island Arts Foundation joined for an evening of live jazz music at Conley's home-turned-theater last night...but the music came to a screeching halt when ABT raided the building.
"All the sudden the cop comes in and starts going like this. I thought, God, did someone complain because the music is too loud?" Conley explained.
Officials say Conley and his partner were illegally selling alcohol without a license. ABT confiscated dozens of bottles of beer and wine and cited Conley, all while a crowded house of mainly locals and snowbirds stood by.
"That's pretty intense to send seven cars, eight or nine agents. They seized 13 dollars in tips," Conley said.
Conley's lived in the top floor of the theater since he opened the building back in 2004. He says he started the community dinner theater to give Fort Myers Beach a taste of the arts.
"They are wonderful neighbors. They've lived there for six years and I have nothing but good things to say," neighbor Don Kulla said Friday.
While Conley was given a notice to appear in court for the violations, he still says nothings stopping him from bringing culture to Fort Myers Beach.
"We're going to have our music next week and if anyone wants to drink it's going to be free," Conley said.
ABT says Conley was previously warned by local code enforcement about needing an alcohol license.