WASHINGTON - A D.C. man is threatening legal action after he says the Long Island Iced Tea he was served at an Adams Morgan bar contained cleaning fluid.
Leon Williams says Long Island Iced Teas are his drink of choice, so he immediately knew something didn't taste right when he was at Club Heaven and Hell on Sunday night.
According to Williams, his cocktail was spiked with Foam-Brite Condenser Coil Cleaner.
“When I first drank it, I was like, ‘Man, this ain’t right,'" said Williams. "I got up, I told him to taste this drink, then I saw a bottle behind the counter. I grabbed it and it was that clear, bright stuff – that poison stuff that he put in my drink.”
The product is so strong that it is nicknamed “Yellow Death.” The label on the product states in all caps that it is not for indoor use and warns of possible severe skin burns and eye damage.
Williams captured the moments after consuming the drink on cellphone video.
“It’s almost like you are smelling ammonia – it’s just strong,” said Williams.
Williams underwent an x-ray, blood tests and a urinalysis at the hospital. One day later, he says he is still suffering from a burning throat and chest. He also says he can't eat because he feels like he is swallowing rocks.
The bartender, who has owned this nightclub for nearly 40 years, says he poured the drink himself and called it an honest mistake – claiming he ran out of sweet and sour mixer and confused the similar bottles.
“God as my witness, we have another person up here. It was a mistake,” said bar owner Mehari Woleemariam. “Why should I have somebody poisoned? The customer comes to pay me and I’ve been in this business for the longest time in Adams Morgan."
The owner says he has already taken steps to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.
D.C. police are investigating, but no charges have been filed. Detectives are now referring the case over to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
However, Williams believes this was no accident and is calling for the bar and its owner to be held accountable.
“If it was a mistake, everybody has got to be accountable for their mistakes,” Williams said. “I could have been dead right now. I could be in a coma laid up somewhere. I’m just glad I didn’t take more than one shot. I was drinking not knowing – just going back. I would probably be still in the hospital or dead.”
The city’s Health Department said in a statement, "The first violation that comes to mind is an unlabeled chemical violation. The next violation would be mishandling and improper storage of chemicals with foods. Chemicals should be stored separate and away from all food products so that there's no risk of something like this happening. They could also be cited for serving adulterated food product."
Aside from any code violations, police say they have not ruled out filing charges.