Tri-Cities neighbor St. Charles on Monday laid down a $2,000 fine and $500 in costs against two downtown bars, one of which also will have its liquor license suspended for three days later this month.
Mayor Donald DeWitte, the city’s liquor commissioner, announced the penalties during a St. Charles Liquor Commission meeting to review the complaints again the , and
The Alibi, which was awarded its Class B-3 liquor license nearly 13 months ago, will have it’s license suspended for three days — from 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, through 2 a.m. Saturday, March 23. The suspension means the establishment will not be allowed to serve alcohol during those days, although DeWitte said the restaurant may remain open, but again, alcohol cannot be served during the suspension.
Owner Richard Simpson and his attorney, Ketki Steffen, accepted the penalty, although Simpson complained the circumstances were not his fault.
The Alibi was cited with permitting an intoxicated person to loiter on the premises, and with serving liquor to an intoxicated person after a Jan. 13, 2013 incident in which police were called to the establishment at 12:58 a.m. on a report of a woman vomiting in the bathroom. What police found was a woman on the floor amid a pool of vomit, according to the report on the incident. The officer called for paramedics, and the woman began vomiting again when they arrived to check on her. She was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
DeWitte and attorney Tom Good, representing the city, said the violation was the Alibi’s third in about eight months, which is why the suspension was issued.
In May 2012, the Alibi was cited for staying open after hours. A second violation came later in the year, with the city fining the establishment in October.
“The attitude toward over-serving alcohol in downtown St. Charles is under intense scrutiny by the City Council … I personally strongly believe it is a result of over-service of alcohol,” he said.
“Our establishments must do a better job of monitoring alcohol consumption by their patrons,” DeWitte said. “Anytime a paramedic has to be called for a patron who may have been overserved … tells me there as no monitoring.”
DeWitte said he was following the “letter of the laws as it pertains to state statute. … to send the right message to Mr. Simpson and his establishment.”
Contrary to recent election rhetoric pertaining to the leeway the mayor has in setting penalties, DeWitte said the state statutes require escalating penalties pertaining to alcohol service violations.
“Members of the City Council may not be aware that this process is controlled by state statute,” he said.
Beehive Takes Fine
The Beehive, in a stipulated agreement with the city, will pay $2,000 and $500 in costs associated with two violations.
The first citation was related to an incident that began about 11 p.m. Jan. 31 and lasted through 1:20 a.m. Feb. 1, when a woman who had been drinking elsewhere earlier in the evening came and continued to drink at The Beehive. She left and was involved in a minor accident just blocks away, and was cited with driving under the influence of alcohol.
The second citation against The Beehive stemmed from an incident at 12:20 a.m. Feb. 2 in which an officer on foot patrol met a man with a 24-ounce bottle of Miller beer on the 00-99 block of North 3rd Street. The individual, who was issued a warning for possessing alcohol in a public place. He told police he had walked out the front door of The Beehive and that no one said anything. The city’s liquor ordinance allows consumption of alcohol on the premises only.
DeWitte said the DUI incident was serious, but The Beehive had a “clean year” in 2012 without infractions, or the penalties could have been stiffer.
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