April 12, 2007
The County of Maui's liquor rules state very clearly that it's not
enough if a licensee's staff simply takes note that one of their
customers may be drunk. Nor is it enough if the licensee's staff
engages in what the industry calls "slow service," even to the point of
pretending not to hear the customer's request for another drink. In
fact, it's not even enough if the licensee cuts off a potential drunk:
under Maui's liquor rules, all licensees must physically remove from
the premises any customer they consider to be intoxicated. To do less
than that is to invite serious fines and penalties.
Mulligan's at the Wharf found this out during the Apr. 5, 2007
Liquor Control Adjudication Board hearing. On June 14, 2006, the Maui
Police Department arrested a woman in Ka`anapali for driving under the
influence. An LC investigator subsequently asked where she'd been
drinking, and she said Mulligan's (she had attended a fundraiser for a
young resident suffering from cancer).
At the Apr. 5 hearing Mulligan's owner Kevin O'Kennedy argued over
how many drinks the woman actually consumed on the night in
question—his bartender said they served her two before "ignoring" her
request for a third; her husband said she'd had "three or four"—but he
conceded the point that his staff should have thrown her out when they
realized she was intoxicated.
"I've not been before this board before," he told the nine members.
"She was coherent [though] she had a wobble in her wiggle… [But] the
letter of the law states that we recognized she was intoxicated and
that she was not allowed to stay."
And that's why Mulligan's was in the dock. O'Kennedy's staff tagged
a customer as intoxicated and even stopped serving her, but because
they didn't kick her out the hammer was going to fall on them.
After nearly half an hour of deliberation, the board returned with
exactly the punishment asked for by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew
Martin: $4,000 in fines, with half that amount suspended if Mulligan's
can avoid a similar violation for a year.
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