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The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) regulates and controls the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within the state. The SLA works hand in hand local law enforcement across the State to ensure compliance with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. In addition, the Authority issues and renews licenses and permits to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers of alcoholic beverages.

The SLA periodically orders Emergency Suspensions for licensed premises where the public health, safety, or welfare is endangered and the situation requires emergency action as authorized by the State Administrative Procedure Act. The Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen and Commissioner Jeanique Greene, will on occasion if necessary call a special meeting of the Full Board to address these suspensions.

Last week, on December 12, 2012, a special meeting of the Full Board was held by Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen and Commissioner Jeanique Greene to suspend the license of Cignanero LTD., doing business as “The Black Swan Pub” at 66 Broadway in the Village of Tivoli. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be served or consumed on the premises.

When the license is suspended under these circumstances, a Notice of Pleading containing the disciplinary violations is also served. The SLA looks at a totality of the circumstances before it imposes a summary suspension on the licensee. The SLA looks at the current violation and then considers the licensee’s disciplinary history to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited hearing before an administrative law judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.

In this instance, there were complaints of underage drinking and excessive noise. The SLA sent in undercover Investigators. They determined that a large number of patrons appeared to be underage and additional SLA Investigators and deputies from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office were then sent into the premises to conduct an underage drinking compliance inspection. The Investigators found thirteen underage purchases, where some of the sales were made by the licensee.

The bar with charged with eighteen violations, including underage sales, unlicensed bouncers, paying employees off the books, and failure to supervise the premises. In addition, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office arrested the licensee and two bartenders for unlawfully dealing with a child. The bar was previously fined by the SLA $2,000 on August 23, 2006 for excessive noise, and $4,000 on May 27, 2009 for employing unlicensed bouncers and employees off the books.

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