A year after gay businessman Ben Elliott left Atlanta in a cloud of controversy, he was arrested Aug. 27 in Winchester, Tenn., following an extensive federal investigation. At press time, Elliott was scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 5 in federal court in Atlanta on multiple charges of wire fraud and money laundering.

Elliott left town last summer after Hoedowns, the popular gay country bar where his family had become the majority shareholder, closed abruptly Aug.13, 2007. The contents of the bar were later sold at public auction.

Elliott’s tenure at Hoedowns was marked by anger from patrons who disliked the changes he made to the Atlanta institution, including dropping its format of all-country, all-the-time in favor of multiple drag shows and theme nights.

The Franklin County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Department arrested Elliott on Aug. 27. He was held overnight in the county jail, then transported to Chattanooga and transferred to federal authorities, said Sheriff’s Department Lt. Mike Bell.

Elliott is currently free on bond, according to the FBI.

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