Juan Luna, owner of the downtown Gainesville restaurant Luna’s, will have to stay at least 50 feet from rival restaurant owner Scott Dixon for the foreseeable future.
Luna, who was charged with simple assault for pointing a gun at Dixon in an altercation last year, pleaded guilty in state court Wednesday to two misdemeanors connected to the incident.
Dixon owns another downtown Gainesville restaurant, Scott’s on the Square. He told The Times last year that the two men had argued in early June 2011 over Luna’s hiring of Dixon’s former head chef.
Luna, on the other hand, said he stopped to talk to Dixon on his way home when Dixon “got all bent out of shape.”
A report compiled by Gainesville police said Luna then got a nightstick from his vehicle and approached Dixon in a threatening manner. After the two argued briefly, Luna reportedly drove away only to return a short time later. Luna then got out of his car and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at Dixon, the report said.
Originally, Luna denied touching the handgun during the exchange and having the baton with him on that particular night.
But on Wednesday, Luna pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from the incident and told Judge Charles Wynne he was “ashamed and embarrassed” of his actions that night.
Wynne ordered Luna to pay a $300 fine for the simple assault charge and a $150 fine for the charge of disorderly conduct.
Each charge comes with 12 months of probation and orders to not possess a firearm or have contact with Dixon through the two terms of probation.
A specially appointed solicitor, William Oliver, told Wynne that Dixon was aware of the plea deal and was content with the charges.
As soon as the fines are paid, Luna’s probation will be suspended, meaning he won’t have to report to an officer regularly.
Still, the orders to not possess a firearm and not come within 50 feet of Dixon and his home or downtown business stand.
Luna told the judge the fines would be paid by the end of the day.
The suspended probation was not a part of the solicitor’s recommended punishment for Luna, but Wynne, who said he knew Luna to be a “professional businessman,” said it was appropriate.
“This appears to be an isolated circumstance,” Wynne said.
Originally, Luna faced charges for pointing a firearm at another. But in court, the charge had been changed to disorderly conduct.
Oliver is the solicitor general of Habersham County. He took the Luna case after Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard recused her office from it.
Luna has no prior arrest record, except for a 2002 charge for failure to comply with authorized person directing traffic. The charge, which had been reduced from an original charge of obstruction, came with a $500 fine.