The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of DJ’s on the Boulevard at 3010 Erie Boulevard in Syracuse today. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a special meeting of the Full Board on November 14, 2019. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises. During the suspension period the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancelation or revocation of the license.
Following complaints of underage drinking at DJ’s on the Boulevard, on Thursday, November 7th, investigators from the SLA, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Syracuse Police Department (SPD) conducted a compliance inspection at the premises. SLA undercover investigators entered the premises at approximately 10:20 p.m., observing numerous patrons appearing to be underage purchasing alcoholic beverages. At 11:00 p.m. the DMV, SPD and SLA investigators secured the premises and began checking IDs.
The investigation found that nearly half of the 150 patrons were under twenty-one, despite the bar’s purported policy of not admitting anyone underage. SLA investigators observed nineteen direct sales to minors, obtained twenty-one additional statements from minors who admitted to purchasing alcohol, and seven statements from minors admitting to consuming alcohol provided by other patrons. In addition, DMV investigators and SPD officers issued forty-four appearance tickets to minors for possession of fictitious or fraudulent identification.
“The State Liquor Authority will not hesitate to take immediate action against bar owners who are flagrantly breaking the law,” said SLA Vincent Bradley. “Licensees have an obligation to take basic steps to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking every ID, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.”
On November 13th, the SLA charged DJ’s on the Boulevard with fifty-three violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, including forty-seven counts for selling to a minor, failure to supervise, employing unlicensed bouncers, and failure to maintain accurate books and records.
Also on November 13th, the SLA charged Dean P Whittles Incorporated, doing business as “DJ’s on the Hill” at 161-163 Marshall Street in Syracuse with operating a “non-bona fide premise,” for refusing to allow patrons without a college ID into the establishment. DJ’s on the Hill was previously fined $25,000 on January 4, 2017 for five counts of selling to a minor, sale to an intoxicated patron, and failure to supervise. As part of the settlement offer, the SLA Board mandated the licensee cease admitting patrons under twenty-one into the establishment, in addition to purchasing scanners and obtaining training for employees.
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation 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 administrative law 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.