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El Dorado Bar Fight Pits Poor Red’s Owners Against Former Employees

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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EL DORADO (CBS13) — A bar fight taken outside as protesters picket a landmark bar in El Dorado County. When CBS13 tried to get the other side of the story, the owner kicked us out.

That’s one of the bar owners pushing our camera. Michael and Brenda Adams—the owners of Poor Red’s in El Dorado for the last six years—were arrested in April. They reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to numerous tax evasion charges and insurance fraud.

In this sleepy foothill town, this weathered bar and barbecue is an icon.

“Poor Red’s has been such a landmark. Opened in 1940, Poor Red started it, and the building was built in 1857,” said Mike Speegle, who quit his job there.

It’s the birthplace of the famous drink, the Golden Cadillac.

But some say the bar’s seen far better days, and they’re not talking about the decor.

“It’s been going downhill, and it doesn’t have much farther to go almost to the basement.

Here’s someone mooning our camera, and former employees picketing outside. Some quit, some were fired, but all of them demand the current owners sell the place.

“We have no worker’s comp, no unemployment benefits, medical, dental, no anything, because that would give them more money in their own pocket to do their own thing.”

We wanted to give Michael Adams a chance to respond. He was released from jail and is still running the bar, while he and his wife await sentencing.

Clearly we weren’t welcome. And protesters say soon the owners will have no choice but to get out, too. A sign posted on the property says it goes up for auction. If it isn’t sold by the end of October.

“The community is behind this effort to get Poor Red’s back to where it used to be.”

The couple originally faced more than 30 counts of tax evasion and insurance fraud. They each pleaded guilty to seven felonies and one misdemeanor. They’ll be sentenced in early December.

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