Archive for Monday, March 11, 2013

Lawrence bars cited for serving minors 92 times in 2012; few penalties doled out

March 11, 2013


About the data

• The Journal-World requested a list of all citations issued by the ABC and law enforcement as part of several enforcement actions in Lawrence in 2012.

• 25 bars received a total of 92 citations for serving minors in 2012.

• The Journal-World also requested information for bars prosecuted by ABC in 2012.

• In 2012, the ABC prosecuted 14 cases, resulting in about $7,000 in fines. 20 cases are pending.

Highest violators

The following bars received the highest number of citations for serving minors in 2012:

• The Hawk: 14

• Bullwinkle's: 12

• Holiday Inn: 8

• Quinton's: 8

  • Cases included violations given by ABC officers and local law enforcement during special actions.

Kansas law

Kansas penalties for bars that serve to minors (per minor)

• First offense: $500 fine

• Second: $750 fine

• Third: $1,000 fine

• Fourth: $1,000 fine and two weekend days’ suspension

• Fifth: $1,000 fine and four weekend days’ suspension

• Sixth: $1,000 fine and seven consecutive days’ suspension

• Seventh: $1,000 fine and 14 consecutive days’ suspension

• Eighth and beyond: $1,000 fine and license revocation

* Provided by the Kansas Department of Revenue. For penalty purposes, violations are counted over a four-year period.

Lawrence bars were cited more than 200 times for serving minors in the past two years.

But records obtained by the Journal-World show such citations rarely result in significant penalties.

In 2012, for instance, prosecutions by Alcohol Beverage Control, the state agency that handles such cases, doled out $7,100 in fines but did not issue any suspensions to Lawrence bars.

Under state law, several of the bars — cited and prosecuted dozens of times during the past several years — could have lost their liquor licenses but didn't.

"Some of the licenses are reaching the point where they're getting pretty severe," said Dean Reynoldson, of ABC.

But no one is sounding alarm bells, he said.

"I haven't had anyone express outrage or even concern that we're being lax in liquor licenses," Reynoldson said.

Application of laws

The Kansas laws and penalties for bars that serve minors look paltry when compared with other states. In Kansas, bars caught serving minors face a $500 fine for a first offense. Penalties creep up until the eighth violation, when a bar could potentially have its license revoked.

But in Nebraska, for instance, a bar would face license revocation by a fourth violation. In Oklahoma, it’s possible to face revocation after a first offense.

Just for violations in 2012 alone, four Lawrence bars had enough citations to face license revocation under the Nebraska law.

Even under the current penalty structure, Lawrence bars have had enough violations to warrant license revocation under Kansas law.

Reynoldson, however, said "we have not taken that approach," and, generally, bars are suspended and fined instead of revocations, even after they reach the the eighth violation.

But that doesn't mean it couldn't happen, he said. Three Lawrence bars — Abe & Jake's, The Hawk and the Phoggy Dog — have pending license revocation hearings scheduled for this year. Mike Logan, owner of Abe & Jake's, however, said he just purchased the facility and does not plan on operating the facility as a bar.

Uphill battle

Jen Jordan, director of prevention at DCCCA, said bars can and should implement better approaches to preventing minors from drinking.

Jordan, who also works with the Draw the Line Coalition, a local alcohol abuse prevention group, said they hold training sessions for local bars centered on identifying fake ID's.

But Jordan acknowledged the challenges faced by bars, as today's youth are creative and technologically savvy when it comes to obtaining fake ID's.

"We've got a lot of ID's that are being bought online that look pretty good," said Jordan, adding that the Lawrence area also has a rotating crop of motivated students determined to get into local hotspots.

Scott Newell, owner of Phoggy Dog, one of the bars that has a revocation hearing scheduled this year, talked about one recent violation where an ID even initially fooled law enforcement officers.

"It's a battle," said Newell of monitoring the thousands of college-age students who show up at his bar every week. "We do the best we can do."

Google form

Bars cited for serving minors in 2012

List includes the Lawrence bars with the highest number of citations issued 2012 for serving alcohol to minors. Numbers include those from local law enforcement during special enforcement actions as well as citations issued by Alcohol Beverage Control.

Google form

2012 completed prosecutions

List includes cases Lawrence bars prosecuted by Alcohol Beverage Control in 2012.

Google form

2012 pending prosecutions

Cases pending prosecution by ABC in 2012.


Anthony Mall 5 years, 2 months ago

At least your not quick to judge... That's nice!!! Now if you could come.back to reality, we would love to have you...

1 or 2 a year in this town is not bad!!! 14 means you have no clue what your doing!!!

joes_donuts 5 years, 2 months ago

"No clue" and your statement go hand in hand.

If a place holds 500 people and is busy 3 days a week, for 30 weeks of the year, that is 500x3x30= 45,000 people a year. If they got 14 tickets in year, that means they were compliant 99.97% of the time (or 3 out 10,000).

Occupancy should play a role in the fines and tickets because holding a big club to the same standards as a 50 person bar is not the same (Maybe fine the big clubs more money but base the revocation on percentage of patrons).

Anthony Mall 5 years, 2 months ago

Pretty apparent since the Hawk is closed all summer, known for years as a problem establishment, and has almost double the violations needed for revocation in one year versus 4 years... Seems to me like I'm dead on...

joes_donuts 5 years, 2 months ago

So what is the story with the Holiday Inn then? They are open only for weddings and parties (probably less than 30 days a year), and have 8 citiations?

Anthony Mall 5 years, 2 months ago

Seriously comparing Holiday Inn lol... Guess you have never been to Paddy O'Quigleys.. there is a valid reason for checking the Hawk multiple times a year!!!

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 2 months ago

Their corporate communications spokesperson told us the violations stemmed from a fraternity/sorority party held at the hotel and all the violations were from one event.

I was told they will no longer be allowing such parties at the hotel.

Shaun Hittle LJW

Anthony Mall 5 years, 2 months ago

At least they are doing something... They just flat out doesnt care, if they have a fake they bar can get out if it, so they just pile them in... 8 in a night is easy

webmocker 5 years, 2 months ago

joes_donuts 1 hour ago "If a place holds 500 people and is busy 3 days a week, for 30 weeks of the year, that is 500x3x30= 45,000 people a year. If they got 14 tickets in year, that means they were compliant 99.97% of the time (or 3 out 10,000)."

That math assumes every single underage drinker was caught by the police, leading to a violation for the bar.

Clickker 5 years, 2 months ago

One of the unintended consequences of changing the drinking laws to 21 is more binge drinking and, of course, more illegal activity (fake ID's). Now, with the use of very good technology to create fake IDs, kids are "pregaming" at home, going straight to the clubs. Drinking til 2am. For those that cant or wont get a fake ID, it is easier to get pot or other illegal drugs. Before we changed the laws, 18 yr olds were going to bars that closed at 12 am, drinking 3.2 near beer and not going straight to the hard stuff. They are drinking anyways, we may as well not criminalize it, and go back to the old model

SpeedRacer 5 years, 2 months ago

Lower the drinking age and don't let the Federal DOT blackmail us next time.

joes_donuts 5 years, 2 months ago

Numbers don't tell the entire story. When certain bars/restaurants are only checked once a year, they will always have less tickets (and it also depends on the time of day they are checked).

For example, to walk into Johnnys at 7 pm on a Wednesday night is not the same as walking into the Wheel at midnight on a Friday.

And if they really wanted to get tickets, follow the party buses to the Salty Iguana, Bambino's, 23rd St Brewery, Wayne and Larry's, and Tres Mexicano's on a Friday or Saturday night. I doubt they have enough tickets in their books to last one night...

jhawkinsf 5 years, 2 months ago

I've been told that fake I'D.s are available online that come complete with bar codes and holograms. If true, I'm not sure what bars can do to combat that.

joes_donuts 5 years, 2 months ago

Get one from China and you can even use it for your speeding tickets.

joes_donuts 5 years, 2 months ago

Most college students now carry 2 fake ID's, their good one, and then a "not so good one". When busted by the cops, they give them the bad one so they don't lose the good one. Fines and penalties given to the minors are a joke amoung the college students.

Also, in Nebraska and Oklahoma, cops don't do bar checks. And if a bar is caught serving someone who showed a fake id, they go after the minor, not the bar.

PhilChiles 5 years, 2 months ago

Let's not compare ourselves to Oklahoma; I was just there a couple days ago, and they have quite possibly the dumbest law I've ever heard of. Gas stations carry 3.2 beer, and liquor stores have the regular stuff, but they can only sell it warm. It doesn't stop anyone from drinking, it just punishes those who do so.

LawrenceEater101 5 years, 2 months ago

Where is Saints Bar on this list? I know they have alcohol violations. They are also not listed on your restaurant inspection page, but I know from talking to kids working there that they have food violations too.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 2 months ago

We just had the highest violators on the graph, not all of them, since the graphic would then be unreadable. Saints had 2 violations in 2012, according to the data.

Shaun Hittle Reporter LJW

LawrenceEater101 5 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Shaun. Any word about the food violations? I can't find the bar on the state website either.

Shaun Hittle 5 years, 2 months ago

They were inspected in Nov. 2011, but not in 2012 as a restaurant. The get inspected once per year, but it just needs to be in the state's July through June fiscal calendar. So, they'll need to be inspected before July.

Shaun Hittle LJW

Kent Noble 5 years, 2 months ago

Just change the drinking Law back to 18yrs old. If a high school graduate can join the military and fight to save our lives. Then someone 18 yrs old should be able to drink a beer. 18yrs old your considered an adult. I understand that drinking and driving is very serious, but adult is an adult.

juma 5 years, 2 months ago

LJW you should research how many violations were actual minors (college students) and how many were 'entrapments' by the ABC. There is a very real difference. I know for personal experience working in the industry. A kid paid by the ABC to force being served a drink is very different from a real student trying his/her luck. The paid kid does NOT get punished for using a fake ID; the real kid does.

G_neeLamp 5 years, 2 months ago

All the manpower and money law enforcement put into underage drinking is about effective as the money put into war on drugs.

Jim Phillips 5 years, 2 months ago

To paraphrase the wise old sage, VP Joseph Biden, 'We need more [alcohol] laws because we don't have time to enforce the one's we already have!'

Reuben Turner 5 years, 2 months ago


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