Breaking News: Michael Costa Arrested By TABC at The Office Grill in Dallas

TABC officers and Michael Costa (light blue shirt to right) outside The Office Grill in Dallas. (Photo by Nancy Nichols)

This evening, around 6:40PM, officers from the TABC entered The Office Grill in far North Dallas (Frankford and Tollway) and arrested co-owner Michael Costa. I’m awaiting information on the specific charges of the arrest but his business (Lucky 7 Private Club) has appeared consistently on the TABC credit law delinquent list which is released every two weeks.  The most recent was published yesterday. (A detailed explanation of why a business is included on the list is below the jump.)

Costa was handcuffed inside the restaurant and taken to Collin County Jail.

The Office Grill co-owner Michael Costa once again behind bars. (Photo by Nancy Nichols)

Tonight’s arrest is the second for Costa this month.  On September 13, Costa was arrested for a bond forfeiture for theft of $1,500<20k.”

Jump for TABC rules.

UPDATE: I have turned the comments off until I have more details about the situation. Sorry, but thanks.

UPDATE: Comments on.

UPDATE: I’ve been on deadline all day. According to an officer of the Collin County Jail, Michael Costa was arrested for two charges. Both were “an act prohibited during permit suspension.” Since the TABC arrested Costa it looks like Costa’s liquor license was suspended and he continued to sell alcohol. Both charges are misdemeanors and bond for each charge was set at $1,500. Costa bonded out earlier this afternoon. Mug shot below.

Mug shot from last night's arrest.

The current TABC credit law delinquent list is now available and has an effective date of September 19, 2011 at 12:01 am.

The Delinquent List is published/effective at 12:01 a.m. on the 3rd and
18th of each month. All payments must have been received by the
wholesaler prior to 12:01 a.m. on the 3rd and/or 18th as applicable to
avoid regulatory action. Any orders received for delivery, will call,
salesperson pick-up or hot shot prior to the publication date may be
delivered by the Wholesaler and/or Local Distributor on the day of the
publication. Such orders must be invoiced and billed prior to the
publication time of 12:01 a.m. and must be delivered by 1:00 p.m. on the
publication date.

If the publication date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a state or
federal holiday, the publication date shall be the next regular business


  • Scott–DFW

    The four most intriguing words in this post: “Photo by Nancy Nichols.”

  • A. B.

    No doubt. Who do you know at TABC, Nancy?

  • Lester

    I don’t think the TABC arrests for being on the list. This had to have been for another violation, unless he paid a bill to a liquor wholesaler with a bad check?

  • George

    Is it a coincidence that you were way out north at The Office, or do you have an informant at the TABC?

  • I am a reporter. I was doing my job.

  • George

    I’m just wondering how you got there fast enough to take the pictures if you weren’t given advance notice of the arrest. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that information about planned arrests ought not be shared with the press.

  • Chicken

    Seems a little shady to me. I’d like to know if any other “media” were there to witness the arrest, or if it was just Nancy who was tipped off.

  • Conspiracy Theorist

    Who cares how the news was caught, who called who, who got the pictures, why no other news agencies were there. I still think Oswald…..wait thats another story. This story is about a guy that is being held accountable for HIS actions. Finally.
    Not a news reporter reporting news.
    Maybe just maybe the TABC has their own reasons for wanting pictures of this guy being arrested.

  • George

    I care how the news was caught and who called it in. I suspect Mr. Costa’s attorneys care. I know who got the pictures. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a friend of Michael Costa’s, nor am I a drooling disciple of Nancy Nichols. I simply believe that journalists and government officials should be called out if their behavior is unethical.

  • Sammy

    You people crack me up!

    So instead of focusing on the person arrested (who is innocent until proven guilty, of course) everyone gets their silk panties in a wad about who took the picture?

    Do people really not have a clue how the police and the media work together? Many, MANY times a police department will call the media if there’s something they want to show to the public. Many, MANY times reporters have contacts within law enforcement, or actually listen to police radios to find out what’s going on in the world.

    Grow up, people! It’s ridiculous that the press keeps getting blamed when someone gets in trouble. The press didn’t make Mr. Costa write bad checks, or not pay his taxes, or whatever other sins he may or may not have committed. Sheesh.

  • Liquid Ninja

    Who cares. That guy is a schmuck and needs to go do pyramid schemes, sell mineral drilling, push Monavie, anything but be in the restaurant business. He gives owners and others in the restaurant industry a bad rep. Ive worked with this guy and he is a total scum bag to the highest degree. All u cronies that take up for him are blind sheep with false hope of being “managing partners”. The only thing that means is “I’ll get you a check next week”.

  • Borborygmus

    I love that Nancy has “Deep Throat” sources within the food industry. That’s what journalists do.

    Costa hurt employees by promising to pay and then bouncing their checks. Imagine if that was you.
    Costa violated the TABC laws that cover the legal distribution of liquor, thumbing his nose at the government and those who do follow the laws – every day. Imagine if that was you.
    Costa hurt vendors by taking their products and then never paying. Imagine if that was you.
    Costa raised the cost of dining out by forcing vendors to raise prices to cover their unpaid accounts. Wait, THAT’s me, and you too.

  • Jane

    Whoa whoa whoa…wait. Why are we talking about THIS when we could be talking about Lucia being on the delinquent list too? Or is that another Lucia on 8th street?

  • George

    Sammy – What do you mean “you people”? I’m kidding! Seriously, though, I don’t wear silk panties. They’re too difficult to wad.

  • Lionel

    Great job Nancy. George you need to get real, the police often inform members of the news media of impending arrests, have you not heard or seen the “perp walk”. The fact that this crook has been doing this for years and getting away with it and finally a responsable member of the news media did there job is a great thing.Now if only you would go after a few other crooks in the business who are always cheating their “investors”.

  • Darren

    You know, I was thinking the same thing. Why would Nancy be at a RESTAURANT during operating hours? You would think it was her job or something!

  • Rawlins

    I love Nancy & even her worst enemies know that she has character & is far more talented than she is ambitious. So don’t shoot the messenger. She’s just doing her (one of her many) job.

  • Lester

    Alert! The delinquent means nothing!! You just forgot to pay your bill on time. You would be surprised who is on thAT list sometimes, large corporate chains. If your on for a long time and your continuing to sell liquor then the TABC might wonder how you keep re-stocking if not allowed to buy. My second guess is he got caught buying from a retailer and filling his old bottles, probably turned by a unpaid bartender.

  • A lot of restaurants end up on the delinquent list if they are two minutes late. Problems arise when a business appears on the list multiple times. HERE IS THE TABC DICLAIMER:

    The Delinquent List is published/effective at 12:01 a.m. on the 3rd and
    18th of each month. All payments must have been received by the
    wholesaler prior to 12:01 a.m. on the 3rd and/or 18th as applicable to
    avoid regulatory action. Any orders received for delivery, will call,
    salesperson pick-up or hot shot prior to the publication date may be
    delivered by the Wholesaler and/or Local Distributor on the day of the
    publication. Such orders must be invoiced and billed prior to the
    publication time of 12:01 a.m. and must be delivered by 1:00 p.m. on the
    publication date.

    If the publication date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a state or
    federal holiday, the publication date shall be the next regular business

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    For those not in the journalism biz: This is called a “scoop.” It’s generally a good thing to get. It’s what happens when a reporter has good sources who provide accurate material and other reporters have not developed same on the particular event or topic. Geez, have none of you seen All The Presidents Men? Deadline USA?

  • Terry G

    No blame on Nancy jist the ethics of TABC for risking lives and their arrest by tipping people off. This needs to be investigated and people need to lose their jobs for this behaviour.

  • Al

    I just want to say thanks to Nancy for doing her job and reporting about this example of bad business. As a friend of a former employee of Costa, I can tell you how great it is to learn about him getting his punishment again and again and again. He has caused hurt to lots of people over the years and he needs to be stopped.

  • Wait, so what are the “more details” Nancy has, now? What was this dude actually arrested for?

  • Witness

    Again, Nancy was there with or before TABC ever showed up, camera in hand. Weird.

  • Conspiracy Theorist

    witness, you are right ,being somewhere with a camera. How odd. It’s almost like cameras are in everyones cell phones. How big brother.
    How come I feel like somebodys watching me?
    I am sure TABC rushed in, arrested Costa and ran back out to a waiting car right past a waiting journalist with a camera. WAKE UP!!!!

  • B

    Good lord people who cares how Nancy found out. The good news is Costa got arrested and hopefully they loose the key. This is way over due and he sooooo deserves this. I’m beaming ear to ear what a great day.

  • DD

    I can’t believe you stupid people who think Nancy has done something wrong. If a warrant was filed for his arrest anybody with a computer can check the Dallas County Web site. It is all public record. As a rest/bar owner I don’t see any reason for the TABC to tip anybody off. But even if they did so what. The guy is a criminal and shady operator.

  • Gizzard

    GO NANCY! He’s a crook, and I’m glad you got the scoop. It’s almost as good as the ass kicking ESD got today! Yea!!!

  • allison

    Can we talk about the real issue here… WTF is he wearing? A) Hideous B) It is not February

  • Gizzard

    That’s a towel everyone has to wear for mug shots in Collin county.

  • Margaret King

    As a faithful customer of this wonderful restaurant based entirely on their food and service, I am appalled at the assault by this reporter. The facts are, after all of these attacks by this ‘Nancy” nobody, one of the owners was given a @75,00 fine. Period. The editors at D Magazine need to take a long hard look at this reporter and her personal vendettas. Shame on you lady.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Nancy, are we just geezers? Do none of these readers recall when all good newspapers had cop reporters whose relationship with the folks they covered was sometimes a little blurry? Where tips about arrests and the like were part of the daily warp and woof of journalism? sigh. I worked with Edna Buchanan, I tell you!

    (looks out at audience whose eyes are as blank as a flock of chickens)

    sigh. Can somebody wheel me to bingo? I think it starts pretty soon.

  • Eagles

    Nancy is the best food editor/reporter we have in
    Dallas…..everyone else is afraid to go behind the scenes and expose the reality of the restuarant business; few culinary people, many crooks with a “get rich quick scheme”.

  • Gizzard

    Shame on you Margaret for defending a creep like Costa. Nancy does a great job reporting on the food industry in Dallas. Facts are facts. She’s just doing her job, and the folks who regularly read this blog, appreciate her efforts.

  • Threeboys

    So, for all the Nancy bashers here, would it be better for you if he got arrested and she didn’t have a picture/got a tip off. Is that what you want? Is that your only issue? I’ve been hosed by this guy, and I don’t care who gets the info, and by what means. I just want him to get his due.

    You idiots (I mean you, George, and others) calling Nancy out for her ethics and not Costa?

    My money is on being caught re-filling bottles after he was on the list. The wholesaler tags each invoice with the first TABC sticker on the invoice, tags 12 bottles, then tags the invoice again, thus 14 TABC stickers per invoice so they can track each specific TABC sticker with account and invoice date. If he has a Jack Daniels bottle with a TABC sticker 5 months old, and it’s full, there is a good chance he is refilling bottles.

  • Gastrognome

    The people on this thread suggesting that Nancy Nichols did something unethical by working and reporting the heck out of her beat: Just. Don’t. Get. It.

    I’ll take a reporter working with sources any day of the week over a shady (allegedly shady) businessperson.

    Nice scoop, Nancy. Wonder if Costa was asking: “Do these handcuffs make my a$$ look fat?”

  • Jill Wright

    Who cares how Nancy got the photos? Maybe she got a tip from the TABC or maybe she tipped off the TABC on Costa’s location. That’s journalism. But Costa got arrested for a misdemeanor of selling booze with an expired license and is a free man on $1,500 bond. What’s the big scoop? Everyone is making this out to be the crime of the century. What’s next? Showing mug shots of chefs who get arrested for DUI?

  • Yes he did

    I love the fact that the money can be found to bail/bond Costa out every time he is taken in. But…his employees…still not being paid?!?! There is money somewhere, but it’s not going to his employees or his vendors…hmmmm

  • primi timpano

    Great story, great reporting. Next time drive faster so you can get the picture from the front instead of from the back.

  • Seen it

    Costa has been refilling bottles and filling premium bottles with less expensive liquor since at least 1999, when I witnessed it. I know several people since who have personally witnessed it as well. To Jill Wright, it is not this incident, it is that this is Costa’s standard operating proceedure. Pretty much everything this guy does is at minimum “shady”. Margaret King, enjoy it while it lasts, with Costa at the helm it won’t be long and in the end all those folks that prepare and serve that wonderful food will have suffered and be looking for new jobs with a lot less money in their accounts than there should be.

  • RonWash4Prez

    Am I the only one noticing the killer wedgie that the tabc officer in the orange shirt has? OMGosh

  • B

    Now that’s funny Ron…

  • logan

    I cant believe i missed that wedgie, lol…that’s one of the best i’ve seen.

  • Slim

    Costa is a turd. He and Robert Colombo need to be run out of own as they are making a mockery of the restaurant industry and the good people who make an honest living working in the industry.

  • chefnigel1

    I’m not here to defend anyones choices and actions but I will offer some facts. Many people were completely screwed over by the Republic escapade (myself included). I think its only fair that everyone on here who is hating Costa for Republic related problems open their eyes and remember who was in charge out there.

    Bill McCrorey and Mike Thibodeaux. Somehow these two have gotten of scott free from all the unethical thievery that took place at THEIR restaurant. So, all of you folks who are blaming Costa for those problems please reply to me and i’ll happily give you phone numbers for these two snakes. Somehow they run “The McKinney Zone” and no one bitches about their behavior and Nancy doesn’t show up their every few weeks looking for trashy gossip. Isn’t it hard enough to be successful in this industry without having the city’s petty vindictive food writer on your ass from day one? You want to hate some consultants go for it, but, at least spend a minute and learn the names of the people who truly screwed you.

  • chefnigel1

    Nancy, I’m truly curious to know why Michael Costa deserves so much of your attention and focus. I’d imagine that I’m not the only person on here that would love to hear the back story on what makes him so worthy of all the time you’ve spent “chronicling” his career. All joking and name calling aside please fill me in. It might help shed some light on this entire situation. I’ve worked in the industry my entire life and in my experience there are far more scuzzy, greasy, dishonest, and despicable managers and owners than Costa. I’m not saying that some of the accusations against him aren’t terrible but my personal experiences couldn’t be more opposite. Any information would be greatly appreciated, I’d love to understand. Thanks.

  • frank

    Nancy, once again, making up lies to keep her job……Michael Costa has not owed Goody-Goody anything for months! Get your facts straight…….oh wait, you DON’T WANT ppl to know the facts or you look like an bitch with a vengeance!!!!

    This was all staged and you know it, or you wouldn’t have “been on the scene”……why are you so jealous? And if it was legit, he wouldn’t have gotten out with no charges, no citation…nothing. This was nothing more than a photo op for you.

    Go get a dog, or go to a club! Maybe the STAR is hiring!!!!!

    Oh yes, I was in the restaurant last night, had GREAT food and he was gracious, as always………….

    I personally hope he sues the shit out of you, the TABC and his shifty landlord Scott Larson. He is just trying to do business……

  • Sheeple

    Come on people….really? You’re going to blame the reporter for getting inside info? Who cares? That’s their job!

    Nobody said the restaurant didn’t have good food or was a bad place to go, it’s just that this douche is a sleazeball.

    Look at Lochrann’s in Frisco. Had good food, great place to hang out, and then unfortunately the owners brought in this guy and one of his cronies, and now, the place is closed. He refilled bottles just like always, repeatedly stole money and didn’t pay employees. This guy has screwed over A LOT of people and it’s time for him to pay for HIS crimes. Yes, things he conciously, and knowingly DID, that were against the law.

    And Frank, maybe it was “staged”…who cares? This guy is a complete waste of human breath and needs an ass kicking, at best. What he truly “deserves” is much more than that. “He is just trying to do business….” – there is NOBODY that is that naive. I suppose when the drug dealer gets busted with 1000 pounds of meth, it’s ok because he’s “just trying to do business”, right? You’re such an assclown.

  • Costasucks

    Sheeple brings up a good point. Why don’t you look into how he almost single-handedly closed Lochrann’s. I’m sure Deina McNabb would have a lot to say about how he bamboozled her and her family’s business.

  • Deina

    Hello, I’m the owner of Lochrann’s and our closing had nothing to do with Costa etc… It was one hundred percent due to not being able to come to an agreement with the landlord (Frisco Square). I would’ve never allowed for filled bottles, not paying employees etc… So I’m not sure if that was just a broad comment from Sheeple or directed towards us? Regardless, the role Costa had with us has nothing to do with any other of his circumstances and/or with us closing.

  • Sheeple

    Deina – without saying too much, I worked there, and saw it repeatedly, and was told to do it…by Costa. All the way up until the end. I did whatever I could because I love you and Dave, brought it to management (not you) and was told to basically do as I was told. Not to mention all the other shady things he was pulling that never seemed right.

  • Aaron

    What about the time he ordered a brand new $20k vent hood system for Republic on a credit card, told them to ship it to his office, when it arrived he told them they shipped it to the billing address and to deliver it to restaurant, then he reversed the charge on his card saying the vent hood was never delivered knowing the company who shipped it to him didn’t get a signature for delivery. What a great guy.

  • Steve

    The private club (liquor) license at The Office was suspended for non-payment of mixed beverage taxes. If he continued to sell alcohol, he was selling without a permit thus the arrest. The tabc violations he’s been charged with there (available to view on TABC’s website) include illegal possession of liquor bottles with no tax stamps, empty liquor bottles with unmutilated tax stamps and purchasing liquor from unauthorized sources (refilling bottles).

  • frank

    Aaron, you know nothing of Republic, as it was already built when he got there, go find another chump to sell that crap to…..Steve, info is also wrong, no stamp violations, this is a landlord trying to squeeze him out after he pre-paid rent. Maybe the landlord is sleeping with the birdlady Nancy….

  • frank

    Had dinner there again tonight, and it was fantastic…eat it Nancy!!!!!!

  • Mike

    I worked at the office he owes me $400 and is always dodging me and others he owes money to and the restaurants phone number is now shut off….go figure