Ballard’s Beach Resort plans to appeal liquor license suspension

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City councilors voted to grant Ballard’s Beach Resort a 14-day liquor and entertainment license suspension

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BLOCK ISLAND — After New Shoreham City Council unanimously suspended Ballard’s Beach Resort’s liquor and entertainment licenses for 14 days after a show cause hearing on Monday evening, lawyers for the company have asked the state to drop the suspension as they appealed it.

Attorneys for New Shoreham and Ballard’s appeared before a Department of Business Regulation hearing officer on Tuesday afternoon after the six-hour show cause hearing Monday evening.

Hearing Officer Catherine Warren abruptly ended the hour-long hearing after listening to both sides and without saying when she would issue an order.

Rhode Island Commerce spokeswoman Jennifer McGee said no decision on the stay request was due Tuesday.

August 18, 2022: Police detail a chaotic scene at Ballard’s before the fight on the Block Island ferry. What we know.

The suspensions come after the resort’s annual Reggae Fest on August 8, VE Day, overwhelmed Ballard’s, nearby beaches and ferries that brought revelers to and from Block Island.

Brian LaPlanterepresenting Ballard’s, and Nicholas Solotrowho represented the city, agreed that the basis of the city council’s decision, acting as licensing commissioners, was a series of physical and verbal altercations at Ballard’s on August 8, a lack of security guards, as well as ‘a case where guests pushed over a fence to gain access to the property in order to bypass the long security line.

Another part of the decision, Solitro said, was a “mass exodus” from the bar after owner Steven Filippi ordered music and taps to close at 6 p.m. He then ordered that the music be turned back on and that a single bartender open each station at the request of city officials.

LaPlante said the suspension would hurt station operations, estimating it represents 10% of the season, and force foreign students to work in the country. H-2B Visas scrambling to find early morning return flights.

New Shoreham City Council suspends licenses for 14 days

The decision to issue the suspensions came after hours of testimony at the explain the reasons hearing Monday evening and no debate between members of the New Shoreham City Council. The audience ran from 5 p.m. to almost 11 p.m.

Videos of multiple scuffles on August 8 made national headlines and seven people were arrested on the overnight ferry from Block Island to Galilee. Video on social media showed officers jumping onto the ferry from a Coast Guard boat. First Warden André Boudreau read a recitation of the testimony heard during the hearing.

Boudreau then brought a motion to find that Ballard’s violated its entertainment and liquor licenses by being a danger to public safety and a nuisance to the neighborhood, which was unanimously approved without debate or discussion. He then asked the council what to do about the punishment.

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Second manager Sven Risom requested a 14-day suspension, citing video evidence.

City council member Mark Emmanuelle read a prepared statement, calling on council to revoke Ballard’s two licenses, and member Martha Ball said the suspension was a good way to ensure things don’t get uncontrollable in the future. Before the vote on a 14-day suspension, Emmanuelle said he would vote for it, so the decision was unanimous.

Ballard’s spokeswoman, Kimberly Poland, with Polish media groupwrote in a statement that the board’s decision was “pre-scripted” and not discussed by the board.

Impartial judges?

Before City Council hears the first witness on Monday, Ballard’s attorney The plant asked the members to recuse themselves, citing an Aug. 11 meeting in which they said they wanted to take action against Ballard and scheduled Monday’s show cause hearing.

August 12, 2022: Ballard faces a backlash after the fight at a Block Island bar; council may suspend liquor license

After reading the council members’ statements at the August 11 meeting, including requests for the public to provide evidence to use against Ballard, LaPlante asked the council members to recuse themselves from the case.

Council members, who did not receive LaPlante’s motion to recuse himself, continued the hearing without discussing whether they believed they could be impartial.

Later in the hearing, as LaPlante tried to question former acting police chief Peter Chabot about the role of the ferry, city attorney James Callaghan objected and council refused to let LaPlante explain why he should be allowed to continue asking questions.

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At Tuesday’s emergency hearing to suspend the suspension, LaPlante called the motions “pre-prepared and pre-packaged” and the findings “alarming” and further evidence that city council members were trying to come up with ways to take action against Ballard’s before the hearing. .

Who is responsible ?

When Filippi, who is running unopposed for a city council seat, testified Monday night, he laid much of the blame on Chabot and the ferry company. He said Chabot asked him to slow down the ID check that precedes people being admitted to Ballard’s with bracelets indicating they are of drinking age.

July 21, 2022: Block Island finds many bars serving minors; seeks to curb ‘out of control’ alcohol consumption

This in turn led to long queues stretching across the town’s wharf, and people jumping fences and knocking over fences, he said.

Filippi also took issue with Chabot’s testimony that everyone left Ballard’s and went to the ferry when he turned off the music and told the bartenders to stop serving, calling it a slow process.

Chabot said he asked Filippi to turn the music back on and put a bartender at each station, but the crowd immediately evacuated from the complex into town.

“It’s a shame that eight to ten people ruin it for everyone,” Filippi said.

Look: Six-hour cause-and-effect hearing resulting in suspension of Ballard’s liquor and entertainment licenses

On August 8, the large number of people trying to board the last boat of the night prompted Interstate Navigation, which provides the island’s ferry service, to add an unscheduled extra run, where a fight broke out.

Chabot said the “mass exodus” from Ballard’s after the music stopped was a big part of the problem. He also brought six other State Police troopers to the island for the day, but they outnumbered thousands of revelers.

See more of our coverage of a chaotic summer on Block Island

August 18, 2022: Police detail a chaotic scene at Ballard’s before the fight on the Block Island ferry. What we know.

August 12, 2022: Ballard faces a backlash after the fight at a Block Island bar; council may suspend liquor license

August 9, 2022: Disturbance on Block Island ferry draws four police departments; they arrest 7 people

July 21, 2022: Block Island finds many bars serving minors; seeks to curb ‘out of control’ alcohol consumption

July 11, 2022: ‘It’s none of our business’: Update on alleged Block Island sexual assault abruptly called off

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Contact journalist Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @WheelerReporter.

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