Posted tagged ‘ABRA’

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.

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.

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.

 

Notes from Ward 1 Town Hall Meeting and Its Focus on DCRA

February 27, 2015

Orange Nadeau Town Hall(Councilmembers Orange and Nadeau conferring before the meeting began)

On Thursday, February 26, Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Vincent Orange hosted a Ward 1 town hall meeting for community members to ask questions related to their oversight role on the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The agencies present at the town hall were Employment Services, the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Public Service Commission, The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), and the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD). There were roughly 60 people in attendance at the start of the meeting, including Councilmember staff and ANC commissioners.

After opening remarks, Councilmember Nadeau brought the meeting to order. Questions had to be submitted in writing, allowing like questions to be grouped together. No questions were submitted for Employment Services, the Public Service Committee, or the Department of Small and Local Business Development. Residents were primarily interested in DCRA and ABRA.

The questions for DCRA were first — and none of them were positive. Repeatedly residents and ANC Commissioners spoke about DCRA’s unresponsiveness and failure to address issues. ANC 1A06 Commissioner Patrick Flynn stated that he had never had a positive experience with DCRA, whether dealing with them as a resident, small business owner, or Commissioner. He continued by sharing an experience with a problem property in his community which had squatters living in it and frequent calls for service — a situation that in the end resulted in MPD taking charge after the property was set on fire. ANC 1C05 Commissioner Alan Gambrell asked for clarification on how building permits were issued for additions larger than allowed based on square footage requirements, and more importantly for justification on how the square footage was measured and formerly measured areas became areas not measured when calculating additions.

In every instance, DCRA’s response to the community was wanting. Whether responding to the resident who’s house was damaged by the development next door, or the gentlemen wanting to know what protections and assistance exist for residents when their building contractors don’t deliver on the project they’ve been hired to do, DCRA was unable to satisfactorily respond to a single question without redirecting to a phone number or asking the person to stay after the meeting for a personal conversation.

After questions were finished for DCRA, easily half of those in attendance left the meeting. Much less time was devoted to ABRA, and the questions that were asked were more of the type of residents seeking to know more about a process. Unlike the experience with DCRA, ABRA Director Fred Moosally answered questions well and was clearly knowledgeable of his agency and its operations. One of the more interesting questions that was asked of ABRA was why citizens returning to the community after serving a sentence were banned  from applying for a liquor license for 10 years. The concern was that 10 years was excessive, which Director Moosally stated could be revisited to see if the duration was still deemed appropriate to the original concern. Another interesting question was asked by Denis James of the Kalorama Citizens’ Association. James questioned the appropriateness of MPD officers serving on Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and how that association may bias the ABRA Board  during a hearing.

Overall, the general impression from the meeting is that DCRA has lost the community’s confidence. I also doubt that there will be any concrete improvements that come out of the meeting … but then again, only time will tell.

Town Hall Meeting on Thursday Focusing on DCRA and ABRA

February 23, 2015

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask directly to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA)? If so, then Thursday, February 26th is a good opportunity. Councilmembers Nadeau and Orange are hosting a town hall meeting to do just that at the Reeves Municipal Center.

Details from their official announcment below:

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau invites you to a Town Hall meeting with Councilmember Vincent Orange, Chair of the Council’s Business Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee (BCRA), to discuss issues before the committee.

What: Ward 1 Town Hall on Business and Consumer Regulatory Affairs with Councilmember Vincent Orange and Councilmember Brianne Nadeau
When: February 26, 2014 from 6:30pm-8:00pm
Where: Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center (2000 14th Street NW)

Attendees will be invited to submit questions for representatives on hand from both the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. They will cover issues such as permits, inspections, alcohol licensing, noise abatement, landlord violations and construction.

In addition, the town hall meeting will focus on other matters that are before the committee such as wage theft, employment, and the Certified Business Enterprise program.

DCRA Town Hall

Hush Restaurant & Lounge Applies for Liquor License at 3124 Georgia Avenue

November 13, 2014
3124 Georgia Avenue, NW.

3124 Georgia Avenue, NW.

Here’s a new liquor license application that I was alerted to late yesterday afternoon — a Tavern license (Class “C”) for 3124 Georgia Avenue. The applicant is Anyado Hospitality Group, LLC dba Hush Restaurant & Lounge. The placards will go up on the building on Friday according to the official notice.

While Georgia Avenue has a number of successful businesses operating on a tavern license — including DC Reynolds and Looking Glass Lounge — in reading the notice, Hush Restaurant sounds more like a nightclub.  The brief description on the nature of the business lists “Tavern specializing in intercontinental food with seating capacity of 250 and total occupancy of 350. Summer garden with 100 seats. Entertainment endorsement to include cover charge and dancing.”

Due to this, ANC 1A voted unanimously to oppose this ABRA application until we’ve had enough time to engaged both the business owner and the community to better understand how this business will impact the community. It is also an opportunity to enter into a Settlement Agreement should that the be correct path forward.

A copy of the public notice is below.’

Hush

New Business Moving into Former MaMa’s Southern Cuisine Space

March 3, 2014
MaMa's C

The former MaMa’s Southern Cuisine at 3118 Georgia Avenue.

The former MaMa’s Southern Cuisine space is in the process of becoming a new business that will offer coffee, small plates, and ping pong. According to an ABRA Notice of Public Hearing notice that was issued on February 28th, Colony Club, LLC, has applied for a Class “C” Tavern license for 3118 Georgia Avenue. In addition to the aforementioned focus of the business, the application also lists that there will be a Summer Garden, alcoholic beverages, and entertainment from DJs and musicians.

The applicants hours of operation from their application are listed below:

Colony Club Proposed Hours

(The full ABRA notice is available here)


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