Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Empire strikes back

We thought our readers might find the March 18, 2009 letter that local attorney Bob Kelly wrote to the Liquor Control Commission on behalf of his client 50Five Group, Inc., otherwise known as the Empire Tavern, as interesting as we do. Mr. Kelly objects to the recent denial and rejection of the tavern’s 2008-2009 liquor renewal application and requests a full hearing before the Commission. One City official we spoke to who is involved in this matter and who, granted, has a point of view, doesn’t believe the arguments Mr. Kelly puts forth in his letter are persuasive. What do our readers think, especially about the arguments in paragraphs #4 and #6 that the owner, “the sole shareholder,” was not on the premises when cocaine was present or when fights, etc. took place? Does that make him somehow less responsible?

For anyone needing some background, see our June 30, 2008 blog with the resolution City Council passed on April 22, 2008, objecting to the renewal of the Empire Tavern’s liquor permit and this link to the article regarding the June 27, 2008 arrests of two tavern employees on drug charges and the issuance of eight administrative violations.

There’s also this report by the Investigative Unit of the Ohio Department of Safety. Pages 15 -17 pertain to the Empire Tavern. Page 16 lists 29 violations covering the period between 3/21/08 and 6/27/08.

March 18, 2009

Liquor Control Commission
77 South High Street 18th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-0565

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please consider this communication a notice of appeal of the order dated March 3, 2009. Please take note that the appeal is based on the following:

1. There is no evidence in the record that the location of the permit holder’s premises constitutes a substantial interference with public decency, sobriety, peace, or good order as a result of the permit holder’s operation at the location of the permit premises.

2. There is no evidence in the record before the Division of Liquor Control that the applicant demonstrated a disregard for the laws of the state or operated a business in a manner that demonstrated a disregard for the laws, regulations or local ordinances of the state.

3. There is no evidence in the record to demonstrate that Ronny Givens sold or transferred any cocaine at the permit premises or that Crystal Chambers sold cocaine at the permit premises with the shareholder’s knowledge. Further, there is no evidence in the record to demonstrate that Donald Proud, the sole shareholder, allegedly perpetrated or facilitated any drug buys at the permit premises. Further, the sole shareholder has not been convicted of any drug offenses at this time.

4. At the time of the execution of the search warrant on June 27, 2008, the sole shareholder was not present on the premises while cocaine was present. Further, the incidents alleged were after the period when the City of Norwood objected to the renewal of the renewal of the liquor permit.

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