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August 5, 2009

Police: Co-owner of Taps and bouncers from Mother's involved in back alley brawl

A co-owner of the South Baltimore bar Taps was hospitalized and charged with assault after allegedly scuffling with several bouncers from the nearby Mother's Federal Hill Grille, according to a police report. A bouncer from Mother's was also charged with assault.

Here is the play-by-play, according to the report: At 1:30 a.m. June 27, police responded to a report of an assault at Mother's. There, they found David Holter, a co-owner of Taps, with a "busted eye" and a cut on the back of his head, and Holter's friend Luke Litchenberger, as well as several Mother's bouncers ...

Litchenberger told police he and Holter were kicked out of Mother's for unknown reasons, and they were jumped by five bouncers in the Patapsco Street alley. In the report, police said Litchenberger had blood smeared on his right forearm and knuckles, but no visible cuts.

Bouncer Matthew Sauers had a different story. He told police that Holter and Litchenberger tried to leave Mother's through the wrong door. Sauers told Holter and Litchenberger they were not allowed to go out that door, but they tried to exit through it anyway. Sauers put a hand on them and escorted them out onto Patapsco Street. There, Sauers was joined by fellow bouncers Jason Ferris, Diallo Walcott and K. Hodge.

Sauers said Litchenberger threw a punch, which started a fight. Holter drew a folding box cutter knife, and Litchenberger punched Hodge in the back of the head and tried to put him in a choke hold. Hodge said he disarmed Holter.

Police arrested Holter and Walcott for assault. Walcott had a knot on his head, according to police, but refused medical treatment. Holter was transported to Harbor Hospital and treated there.

Mother's owner Dave Rather was on vacation when the scuffle occurred, but was quick to defend his employees when he heard about the altercation.

"They're all really professional guys," he said. "They're not your typical $10-an-hour meatheads that want to fight. These guys take security very seriously." 

Holter declined comment.

Rather said he met Holter when Taps opened, but otherwise has had little interaction with him. The two bars are only a couple blocks apart on Charles Street, which makes them practically neighbors, he said.

"It's obviously not good for us and not good for the neighborhood," Rather said. "Why would you be fighting at all, and why would you be using a weapon? I don't get it. ... I hope they drop the charges and it goes away. It's not the reputation we want to have."


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:08 AM | | Comments (43)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Is it me, or has something about Taps always seemed shady?

Maybe it just couldn't shake the rep of the Fort Charles (which was a way better name), but that place is the definition of "almost".

June 27?

Taps does seem a bit shady. It's always got low light, and it doesn't feel like the owners followed through all the way on the change from Fort Charles to Taps. It's just the same bar with new linoleum floors, new windows and new TVs. Plus, loud idiots wake me up when stumbling out of there on the weekends.

I'm sure that new self serve tap system at Mother's is at the bottom of this... technology left unchecked will ultimately disturb the natural order of things.

I may be mistaken, but the police report I read stated Holter spent a little time in stir after the alleged incident.

if you co-owned a bar, why would you need to go to another one for any reason besides drugs or cheap tail..............or both? oh, now i get it.

why do some mother's bouncers wear batting gloves? is it for better throat grip? improved stranger?

I didn't realize this was a Federal Hill gossip column, more juicy gossip plz!!!!

"They're all really professional guys," he said. "They're not your typical $10-an-hour meatheads that want to fight. These guys take security very seriously."

Riiiiiiiiiiight. Anytime I'm there and an altercation is about to break out, they all sprint over just looking for a reason to throw down. You can see it in their eyes. Of course that's pretty standard across the board these days.

"They're not your typical $10-an-hour meatheads that want to fight. These guys take security very seriously."

Spare no expense...only the high class bouncers for Federal Hill.

@ JD - Story has been on the street for sometime. I'm curious as to why it's just now growing legs.

@ Nick - Unfortunately I recall your neighborhood president going to bat for Taps at the Liquor Board, something about it being another Cheesecake Factory and raising home property values in the vicinity

@ Anon - Holter was released from jail on July 3, his case is being heard August 14, Hargrove Building, 700 E. Patapsco Ave.

I don't like either of these bars, but Taps is definitely shady.

I've lived in Federal Hill for a while now, and pretty much all the bars are now full of trash. It used to be a decent 20 something crowd but now it is a yo boy paradise up to the same level as Power Plant. That aside TAPS is pure trash, there owners are trash, bar is trash, food is trash and on and on. I think they have a total of 20 costumers on a good saturday night which would explain why there owner wasn't even at his own bar.....sad.

I concur with Tomato Head, this has been going around the neighborhood for some time, and I've heard a distinctly different versions of events.

Sessa, why don't you get the actual charging documents and post them like Peter Herman does on his blog?

Anyone going to the hearing? I might, but I imagine it'll be continuance city.

Taps ownership, facilities, food, general debauchery, etc. aside, this has been on the street for some time. The story told here doesn't pass the smell test, though.

Litchenberger tried to leave Mother's through the wrong door. Sauers told Holter and Litchenberger they were not allowed to go out that door, but they tried to exit through it anyway. Sauers put a hand on them and escorted them out onto Patapsco Street. There, Sauers was joined by fellow bouncers Jason Ferris, Diallo Walcott and K. Hodge.

I've always loved bouncer-reality after a scuffle. I think you might want to read between the lines here, Sessa.

1.) "Sauers put a hand on them and escorted them onto Patapsco Street"? That's over by the West Street Garage. That's a block over and a block up from Mothers. Assume that Sauers did get them out the door by himself. Then he escorted them off the premises and what, 100 ft, 200ft away from the property?

2.) Once he got to Patapsco Street, he was joined by three other bouncers? Really? Now four of the Mothers staff are 100 - 200ft from the bar, doing what? Isn't their job to maintain order inside the bar/club and to protect patrons and facility?

3.) I hope they drop the charges and it goes away. I'm sure you do. Four of your staff got into a fisticuffs well off your premises.


In May of 2008, Mother's added an expansion called Mother's On the Alley, which faces Patapsco Street

Sauers did indeed escort them off the premises, into the alley out back. That means none of the bouncers were far from the bar.

Sam - a somewhat serious question: Would a conviction on assault charges jeopardize the liquor license?

In a perfect world, good ol fashion market economics would be enough to replace TAPS with a better bar, but in this case I wouldn't oppose some bureaucratic intervention to speed up the process.

i totally agree with anon, there should be more posts that expose the underbelly of different neighborhoods and bars.

this is a good post to lead the charge.

I wasn't working the night the altercation happened. (And obviously I am loyal to my job.) With that said, know matter who threw the first punch, and know matter where that punch was thrown in relation to our bar- the owner of Taps had a knife on him. A knife he pulled. A knife he could have killed someone with. What self respecting business owner does that? I've been an employee at Mother's for 10 years now and we have never had a more professional responsible door staff. And I'm glad they are there keeping us safe from harm.

Sessa, I'm well aware of the expansion. My point was that they were at least 100ft off the bar's premises. They were indeed right in front of the West Street garage.

Plus, if you think that one bouncer is going to escort two people out of a bar, I think that's naive, especially if they are so inclined to start brawling and especially the distance that they had to have traveled.

My suggestion was to read between the lines here. I think you missed it.

Taps is a fun place.

Anyway....The assault ACTUALLY happened on West St., which is 1 block away from Mother's. Does this change anyones' opinion?

This Sessa guy should have gotten the true facts ........ WOW another misquote and representation from Sessa.

...Sauers was joined by fellow bouncers...


Once your neighborhood bars need to resort to've lost your neighborhood.

More of my simple remedies that no one seems intelligent enough to put into place:

1) I think all bouncers should be females, because the element that becomes a bouncer is always "that angry guy" that has something to prove and wants to be a hero.

2) I don't think males should be allowed to drink alcohol until they are 35 years old.

3) If a guy is guilty of starting a barfight, he is immediately taken to a back room where his balls are quietly removed. He is then welcome to hang out in the bar as long as he wishes.

Wow. This is really old news. A quick search of the judical records will show the active criminial charge as well as two active property foreclosures on David Holter, not to mention an active DUI and and appeal for a previous DUI.

This is all a matter of public record. I know times are tough at the Sun, but surely you still have access to public records.

Taps will be closed within a year. And it should be.

I doubt this will effect his ability to own a liquor license at all. The crime is not a felony or other crime of moral turpitude, didn't occur on the licensed premises and in the grand scheme of things is a relatively minor charge. Furthermore, he is yet to be found guilty, which is an extremely time consuming process in Baltimore City. I anticipate continuances, followed by jury trial prayers with perhaps a stet or nolle prosse in the middle, ending it all.

Sessa, I really find this subject in general to be very interesting and would find it amusing if you included more stories regarding the underbelly of bar operations, fights, violations, dirty deals, etc.

if queen colleen worked anywhere other than mother's, i would be a regular at her establishment, but it's not to be.

Go Maryland!

So are we now saying we want Sam to be the Perez Hilton of Baltimore Bar underbelly gossip!!?? Yes, this stuff is interesting, but I enjoy the focus being on new bars, when they are opening, etc.

Further, I agree with the Mother's employee who posted above. This guy had a KNIFE on him. This guy is the Plaxico Burress of the Baltimore bar scene! What the hell are you trying to prove Dave?

By the way, isn't assault with a deadly weapon a felony? Why wouldn't they go for that charge against this guy?

i agree with John. it's a little interesting to see inner workings aside from bringing me beer, and all the shady ish that must go down. plus, if you need a sidekick, i'll dress up like Serpico, or GreenMan at the least.

John- I agree. I live in the neighborhood and usually I pick which bars I patronize based on specials, music, and amount of hot chicks.

It would be nice to know what goes on in the underbelly at all of these bars since it would probably change which bars I choose to visit.

@johnnycat - Do you honestly think what you propose would actually work? Female security? How would you expect a female to break up a fight between 2 grown 35+ year old men that have been drinking?
This leads me to your second point. Legal drinking age of 35? That would NEVER happen.

I agree with johnnycat, kind of. Women doorpersons workout better then men in the respect that they aren't going to let in 19 year old pretty girls. Guys are less likely to argue or start a fight with a female doorperson. I always wondered if you could open a bar where it could be 25 and over for guys and 21 and over for girls.

@Cardwell - So you don't think either of Johnnycat's first two suggestions will work, but you do think the third is viable?

Running articles on the shady underbelly of neighborhood bars takes all of the fun out of being in the know, dammit!

Unless it's a matter of public record, which by then it's probably old news.

Scurvy - I didn't even read his 3rd idea after reading the first two. But after reading that it's clear that johnnycat is the only person who "gets it". where's the sarcasm button??

**Just In** - The venue for this hearing has been changed due to bias opinions being distributed to the public via an online blog known as "Midnight Sun". Standby for more details.

"venue for this hearing has been changed due to bias opinions"

Geeeze it! I was only kidding about Mother's self serve tap system being the root cause.

We should all get a group together and go to the trial. Half of us should wear Taps T-shirts. The other half Mother's T-shirts. We all should wear Midnight Sun magnets.

The bouncers seem like a bunch of punks who wear affliction and tapout t-shirts. I go to bars to beat up bouncers and make examples of them. I love starting fights in bars and then kinda ducking out when things get crazy.

@ John.
Drunk, drunk, crazy drunk,
"When you're with Taps,
You're with Tap's all the way
From your first Natty Boh
To your last dyin' day.

When you're with Taps,
If the spit hits the fan,
You got brothers around,
You're a family man! " -see ya in the parking lot ;)

This would have never happened at the Double Deuce.

Yeah JTK, Wade would have thrown them the glare of a lifetime, they would have run tails tween they legs. Not even a patented Dalton whirlwind kick would have been necessary.

@redman - from The Southside Story?

The state has nolle prossed the charge against Mr. Holter. Interesting to see if the matter dies here, or takes on fresh legs.

I was an out of towner in baltimore for thanksgiving weekend. The place was cool untill I turned around to find steve the head of security sitting on top of my booth backing with one shoe on the table top and the other on the seat. How does this happen? Not good business then when asked why my booth why feet all over seat and table he gave a short smart alec comment like I was trash and he was king. Napoleon complex.. Needless to say I will be back 2 baltimore but never again 2 mothers.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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