April 18, 2018
Albany, NY

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for the Thirsty Frog in Rochester

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for the Thirsty Frog in Rochester
Ongoing Pattern of Violence and Illegal Activities Leads to License Suspension

Albany, NY – The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of Ronzack Inc, doing business as “Thirsty Frog” at 511 Ridge Road East in Rochester today. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board on Wednesday, April 18th . Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises.

According to referrals from the Irondequoit Police Department (IPD), the Thirsty Frog is a drain on police resources, with officers responding to the licensed premises on numerous occasions for fights and disorder. The activities at and around the bar have resulted in numerous complaints, injuries, arrests, summonses and criminal proceedings, with incidents escalating in recent months. In 2017, police received 243 calls for service at the licensed premises; 17 calls for disturbances and 143 calls for special attention details where police anticipated issues and placed a car on scene.

Recent incidents at the Thirsty Frog include:

  • On April 14, 2018, a bartender of the Thirsty Frog and a patron were involved in a fight in the parking lot outside the premises where the bartender was struck in the forehead by a flying object. The bartender sustained swelling and a small cut to the forehead, but refused medical attention and refused to press charges.
  • On April 13, 2018, the IPD observed a disturbance in the parking lot of the Thirsty Frog while on a directed patrol. A group of people were arguing amongst themselves and with security, and police dispersed the crowd.
  • On April 12, 2018, IPD officers responded to assist the Rochester police with a call for a female screaming in a storage area near the licensed premises. The female, who was 20 years old, was extremely intoxicated and stated that she was at the Thirsty Frog that evening.
  • On April 8, 2018, an assault occurred inside of the Thirsty Frog. While officers were outside the premises speaking to a female victim who had been hit in the head with a beer bottle, she fainted and began to have a seizure. After the victim was treated by emergency responders, she could not stand on her own or explain what happened due to her high level of intoxication. Additionally, the manager on duty at the bar that night denied seeing or hearing the incident occur.
  • On March 31, 2018, a fight occurred at the licensed premises. Two groups of patrons were arguing inside the bar, and all parties were told to leave by security. Once outside, both parties engaged in a physical altercation, and one victim was punched and kicked in the face, resulting in a broken jaw and eye socket.
  • Also on March 31, 2018, police responded to the location to check on a possible overcrowding situation and were already on scene when the fight occurred. When police spoke with security and the owner, they stated that they were unable to provide a head count.
  • On March 11, 2018, an IPD officer observed patrons engaged in a fight exit the premises. When the officer spoke with the victim, she indicated that two groups of patrons were in a physical altercation inside the premises when a security guard intervened and ejected all parties from the bar. Once outside, the fight continued and a victim was bit in the arm causing broken skin.
  • On March 10, 2018, a fight broke out among a group of patrons in the parking lot of the Thirsty Frog. When police arrived on the scene, they spoke with an individual who had been in the fight. The individual had blood on his clothing and told police that it was not his blood. The individual also appeared to be highly intoxicated and refused to provide any additional details to police.
  • On January 21, 2018, police were at the premises for a special attention detail when they saw a large group of people yelling and arguing in front of the bar. After the crowd dispersed police heard an individual yelling from a distance. As the officers approached, they observed a security guard from the licensed premises attempting to handcuff a patron. The security guard stated a verbal argument occurred inside the Thirsty Frog that turned physical with several individuals throwing bottles, and he believed that the patron he was attempting to detain was the primary aggressor.
  • On December 17, 2017, police were on scene for a special detail when they were waved down by the bar’s security guard. The security guard advised that a highly intoxicated female was pushing security guards after being denied entry. Also on the night, the security guard again waved down officers to report that a group needed to be escorted away from the premises for arguing and fighting with a bartender.  
  • On December 10, 2017, police received multiple 911 calls for a report of a fight at the Thirsty Frog. When officers arrive on scene, they spoke with the establishment’s security guard who stated that he was punched in the face while trying to break up a fight in the parking lot. Another victim was struck in the face with a bottle during the altercation.  
  • On February 23, 2017, a stabbing occurred at the licensed premises. Police responded to a local hospital for a stabbing victim, who stated that he was a patron at the Thirsty Frog and was stabbed in the parking lot.

In addition to the overwhelming volume of violent incidents occurring at the Thirsty Frog, neighboring business owners have voiced concerns about trash, liquor bottles and drug paraphernalia from rowdy patrons at the Thirsty Frog. Reports from the IPD also state that the bar frequently only has two security guards on duty with crowds of 80 plus people, and that the Thirsty Frog outnumbers any other premises for calls for service and special attention details. On April 17th, the Thirsty Frog was charged with 5 violations of the ABC Law, including becoming a focal point for police attention and for failure to exercise adequate supervision.

“The sheer volume and violent nature of the incidents that occur at the Thirsty Frog clearly show that this licensee is incapable of exercising the necessary supervision required to keep his patrons and his community safe,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano. “Despite numerous warnings from police these incidents have only escalated, and I applaud the Irondequoit Police Department and the SLA for shutting this nuisance bar down before anyone else was seriously harmed.”

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.

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