By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – With 53 violations, including selling alcohol to minors, employing unlicensed bouncers and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately, following a Friday night raid where police seized more than 140 fake IDs.
“This licensee has displayed a disturbing indifference to the law by pursuing a business plan seemingly based on catering to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “The SLA will continue to take immediate action against bar owners who fail to take basic measures to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking IDs, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.”
The suspension was ordered by Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the full board this morning. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises.
According to a press release issued by the SLA on Friday, state undercover investigators entered the Sip & Sail and observed nearly 200 patrons who appeared underage. The SLA noted that the bar had a maximum occupancy of 178. Approximately 20 minutes later, with the bar packed beyond capacity with approximately 300 patrons, the DMV, state police, Oneonta Police and SLA investigators secured the premises to begin checking IDs,
The investigation found that nearly 90 percent of the patrons were under 21, despite the bar’s policy of not admitting anyone under age. SLA investigators observed two direct sales to minors, in addition to obtaining 43 statements from minors who admitted to consuming alcohol provided by other patrons or purchased from bartenders.
In addition, DMV investigators and OPD officers issued 138 appearance tickets to minors for possession of fictitious or fraudulent identification and confiscated 223 fake IDs.
“We take enforcing the law to prevent underage drinking very seriously,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Any establishment selling alcohol to minors is not only putting their ability to operate at risk, they are endangering young people and those who may share the road with them if they are driving.”
Adrian Origoni, who holds the liquor license, was charged with 53 violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, including 47 counts for selling to a minor, exceeding maximum occupancy, failure to supervise and employing unlicensed bouncers.