Archive for the ‘ABRA’ category

ABRA Removes License Suspension with La Morenita — Offer in Compromise Negotiated

December 7, 2017

La Morenita is located on the northeast corner of Newton and Georgia, between the Senior Wellness Center and Top Spanish

La Morenita was scheduled to go before the ABRA Board on Friday, December 1st, to address the incidents on November 13th and 19th that led to MPD closing the business down for 96-hours at the end of November. Instead, an offer in compromise (OIC) was negotiated  and presented to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) by the Assistant Attorney General at the summary suspension proceeding. The proposed OIC, which the ABRA Board has the discretion to accept or reject can be read here.

In addition to the suspension served, the offer in compromise consists of the following terms:

  1. La Morenita Restaurant, LLC t/a La Morenita Restaurant (Licensee) agrees to train all employees to call the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) by dialing 911 when there is any injury, assault, physical altercation, or other crime involving staff or patrons. Licensee will provide training on calling MPD to existing employees the next business day following receipt of the Board order ending the suspension. All new employees will be trained on calling MPD prior to commencing employment.
  2. Licensee agrees to preserve a crime scene inside the establishment for MPD inspection if a violent crime occurs.
  3. License agrees that all employees will call MPD when there is any injury, assault, physical altercation, or other crime involving staff or patrons.
  4. Licensee agrees that all employees will fully cooperate with MPD or the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) with their requests for information.
  5. Licensee agrees to keep a log of police calls in a form acceptable to the Board. The form shall be submitted to the Board for review within 14 days. Licensee also agrees to keep an incident log.
  6. Licensee agrees to disable password access to its camera system and to grant immediate access to the camera system upon request by any Jaw enforcement official, including MPD officers and ABRA Investigators.
  7. Licensee agrees to modify the camera system within thirty days to retain video recordings for at least thirty days.
  8. Licensee agrees to submit a diagram to the Board with the location of all cameras within 30 days.
  9. Licensee agrees that, prior to re-opening the establishment, an ABRA Investigator will inspect the camera system for location of cameras to ensure that they properly cover the interior, exterior, and front and rear of the establishment.
  10. Licensee agrees to work with an ABRA Investigator to resolve any problems with cameras identified in the inspection within 45 days, provided that no fewer than six cameras will operate during that time.
  11. Licensee agrees to inform the Board within 48 hours when it learns that the camera system is not operational. Licensee agrees to repair the camera system within 30 days.
  12. Licensee agrees to have a security guard at the establishment for a period of 120 days commencing December 2, 2017 at the front door on Friday and Saturday nights, either from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am, if closing at 2:00 am, or from 10:00 pm to 3 :00 am, if closing at 3 :00 am. The security guard also will complete the police call log if the guard makes a call to MPD and complete the incident log.
  13. Licensee agrees to provide to the Board a copy of the security company contract within seven days.
  14. Licensee agrees to verify that any bartender employed is at least 21 years old.

Brief Update on La Morenita

November 29, 2017

Last week, La Morenita (at Georgia Avenue & Newton Place) was closed for 96-hours by MPD following a week with two violent incidents that occurred in connection to the restaurant. While the business has reopened, they will not be serving alcohol for the time being.

The Alcohol Beverage Control Board suspended La Morenita’s license as a result of the MPD temporary closing. An ABRA hearing is in the process of being scheduled, but no date has been set. There are a number of outcomes that could result from the ABRA hearing, from nothing to additional restrictions or conditions attached to the license and/or fines.

MPD Issues 96-Hour Closure for La Morenita

November 21, 2017

As a follow up to the serious & violent incidents on Georgia Avenue, and the two specifically related to La Morenita, MPD has issue a temporary closure of the establishment. I’ve been in communication with both MPD and ABRA and have the following update from ABRA which I am sharing to keep the community informed.

From ABRA:

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration is investigating an incident at La Morenita Restaurant at 3539 Georgia Avenue, NW. Additionally, the Metropolitan Police Department issued a 96-hour closure for the establishment effective as of 8 p.m. last night (Nov. 20). The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will issue a decision prior to the 96-hour closure expiring on Friday regarding what additional enforcement action, if any, is appropriate pursuant to § 25-826 (provided below).

§ 25-826. Summary revocation or suspension
(a) If the Board determines, after investigation, that the operations of a licensee present an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public, the Board may summarily revoke, suspend, fine, or restrict, without a hearing, the license to sell alcoholic beverages in the District.
(b) The Board may summarily revoke, suspend, fine, or restrict the license of a licensee whose establishment has been the scene of an assault on a police officer, government inspector or investigator, or other governmental official, who was acting in his or her official capacity, when such assault occurred by patrons who were within 1,000 feet of the establishment.
(c) A licensee may request a hearing within 72 hours after service of notice of the summary revocation, suspension, fine, or restriction of a license. The Board shall hold a hearing within 48 hours of receipt of a timely request and shall issue a decision within 72 hours after the hearing.
(d) A person aggrieved by a final summary action may file an appeal in accordance with the procedures set forth in subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.

§ 25-827. Request for suspension or revocation of license by Chief of Police
(a) The Chief of Police may request the suspension or revocation of a license if the Chief of Police determines that there is a correlation between increased incidents of crime within 1,000 feet of the establishment and the operation of the establishment. The determination shall be based on objective criteria, including incident reports, arrests, and reported crime, occurring within the preceding 18 months and within 1,000 feet of the establishment.
(b) The Chief of Police may close an establishment for up to 96 hours, subject to a hearing and disposition by the Board under § 25-826 if he or she finds that:
(1) There is an additional imminent danger to the health and welfare of the public by not doing so; and
(2) There is no immediately available measure to ameliorate the finding in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(c) The order of the Chief of Police to close an establishment under subsection (b) of this section shall terminate upon the disposition by the Board of the matter under § 25-826.

§ 25-828. Notice of suspension or revocation
(a) If the Board orders the suspension or revocation of a license, the Board shall post a notice in a conspicuous place at or near the main street entrance of the outside of the establishment.
(b) The posted notice shall state that the license has been suspended, the period of the suspension, and that the suspension is ordered because of a violation of this title or of the regulations promulgated under this title.
(c) Any person willfully removing, obliterating, or defacing the notice shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter.

Week of Early Morning Violent Crime has MPD Focused

November 20, 2017

During the past week there have been three violent incidents located on Georgia Avenue between Newton Place and Otis Place.

I’ve been communicating with MPD on these incidents and confirmed that the area is currently being patrolled and that there are extra officers in the vicinity. I’ve also contacted and am working with ABRA to see if there is an issue here with proper serving of alcohol or any other liquor related violations. This seems possible to me due to the hours of the incidents and the location.

In the earlier hours of Sunday, November 19th, two incidents were reported. The first is a homicide where the victim was shot near 3610 Georgia and was found on Spring Road:

(Washington, DC)  – Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred in the 1000 block of Spring Road, Northwest, on Sunday, November 19, 2017.

At approximately 2:01 am, members of the Fourth District responded to the listed location for the report of an unconscious person.  Upon arrival, officers located an unconscious adult male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  DC Fire and EMS transported the victim to an area hospital for treatment.  All life-saving efforts failed and the victim was pronounced dead.

The decedent has been identified as 25-year-old Christian Isaac Lopez Ramirez, of Northwest, DC.

The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.  Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099.  Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by sending a text message to 50411.

The other incident report on Sunday occurred at La Morenita:

At 1:40 this morning an adult male victim was inside of La Morenita at 3539 block of Georgia Ave. NW.  The victim went outside to smoke and asked the suspect for a cigarette.  The male suspect produced a handgun from his waistband and struck the victim in the face with the gun.  The victim fled on foot and flagged down police a short time later.  As a result of the assault the victim was transported to the hospital for a minor injury to his nose.
The lookout for the suspect is a Hispanic male 30-35 years old, 5’6” wearing a blue jacket.

Anyone with information regarding this offense can reach MPD at (202) 727-9099 or text to 50411

The incident at La Morenita is troubling particularly as it was the same location as a violent incident in the early hours of Monday, November 13th, reported below:

At 2:10 this morning 4D units responded to a business establishment in the 3500 block of Georgia Ave. NW for the report of an assault.  The investigation revealed that a female suspect was involved in an argument with a waitress.  The suspect jumped over the counter and began striking the waitress with her fists.  When another waitress attempted to intervene, the suspect grabbed a knife off the counter.  The suspect chased the two waitresses with the knife but they were able to retreat to the bathroom and lock the door.  The suspect went outside and got her male friend.  While they were outside another employee locked the front door of the restaurant.  The male suspect kicked the front door in then both suspects went to the bathroom to try to confront the victims.  The male suspect kicked a hole in the bathroom door but prior to forcing the door all the way open 4D units arrived on the scene and arrested both suspects.  Arrested and charged with ADW knife, threats to do bodily harm and destruction of property were 19 year old Lidia Ventura of Northeast Washington, DC and 28 year old Eric Umana of Northwest Washington, DC.

 

Progress at Union Drinkery

September 15, 2015

At the end of December I posted details and plans about Union Drinkery, a new tavern that was in the works for 3214-3216 Georgia Avenue. Earlier this summer there were a number of questions about if this establishment was still planning to come to the neighborhood. As I understand it, the snag was with getting permits from DCRA. This hurdle has been cleared and anyone walking past the place will clearly see that work has commenced (see photos below).

Union Drinkery is planned to have capacity for 86 patrons inside on the first and second levels and a rear summer garden with capacity for 63 patrons. A separate but complimentary fast casual type of business will be located next door.

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Joselyn Restaurant Applies for Liquor License

July 20, 2015
Joselyn Restaurant, at 3303 Georgia Avenue.

Joselyn Restaurant, at 3303 Georgia Avenue.

The new Joselyn Restaurant, Bar & Lounge at 3303 Georgia Avenue recently applied for a liquor license and placards are currently posted. According to the placard, the restaurant serves Italian and Latin cuisine. The application also includes an entertainment endorsement to accommodate Latin dance lessons. The hours of operation for live entertainment will be 6 pm to 1 am, Sunday through Saturday.

While the ABRA application is new, Joselyn has been open for a little while. It is located between the Post Office and the former Mothership on Georgia Avenue.

Hush Lounge Denied Liquor License

June 1, 2015
3124 Georgia Avenue, NW

3124 Georgia Avenue, NW, where Hush Lounge is hoping to locate.

On Friday, May 29, I learned that Hush Lounge’s Liquor License application had been denied by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. We first learned of Hush’s intentions to move into 3124 Georgia Avenue back in November 2014. During that time, I introduced a protest that was unanimously supported by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A as the business sounded like a club more so than a tavern as it listed an entertainment endorsement, cover charge, and dancing. This seemed like a prudent course of action that would also allow Rashida Brown, the Commissioner-elect for Single Member District 1A10 to take office and work with her community to address concerns.

As it turns out, the precaution turned out to be well worthwhile as there were several serious problems with the application, and another local business associated with the applicant had known problems including operating with an expired license and disorderly patrons. However, in reading the full Board Order denying Hush’s applicaiton, the problems go deeper than this.

The introduction of the Board Order reads:

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) hereby denies the Application for a New Retailer’s Class CT License filed by Anyado Hospitality Group, LLC, tla Hush Restaurant & Lounge, (hereinafter “Applicant” or “Hush”) for the following reasons: First, Mr. Nwaeze is unfit for licensure under District of Columbia (D.C.) Official Code § 25-301, because, as the owner of Taste, he illegally transferred the license to a new owner in violation of §§ 25-301(a)(5) and 25-405, and filed a false renewal application in violation of § 25-401(c). Second, the Board finds the Application inappropriate under D.C. Official Code § 25-313, because Mr. Nwaeze’s actions as the owner of Taste demonstrate that he cannot properly superintend a licensed establishment. Therefore, the Application is denied.

While the liquor license was denied, the Anyado Group is still under a lease agreement at 3124 Georgia Avenue. It is too early to know what, if anything, that may mean. None-the-less, the 11 hour protest hearing that resulted in the Board Order was epic, with Commissioner Rashida Brown representing the community and ANC 1A. She did a stellar job on this protest and is to be commended for her hard work and dedication.

 


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