OIU agents issue citations to seven liquor permits for violating health orders


Staff report - galnews@aimmediamidwest.com



COLUMBUS — Agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), working with assistance from local law enforcement and local departments of health, cited seven establishments with a total of nine administrative citations after receiving complaints of blatant violations of Ohio Department of Health (ODH) orders in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Agents visited the following liquor-permitted establishments and issued citations for violations:

On July 17, Jawbone Partners LLC, known as Dante’s Inferno and Backyard Bocce, Cleveland, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Numerous patrons were observed by officers and agents standing and congregating with no social distancing measures in place. In addition, patrons were engaged in several activities including arcade games and bocce ball without practicing social distancing safety measures.

On July 17, the Riverside Restaurant & Bar, Powhatan Point, was issued an administrative citation for violations of Ohio Department of Health orders by OIU. OIU agents visited the establishment after receiving a complaint from the Belmont County Health Department advising that the bar was hosting a “Jambo Party” and believed it to attract a large crowd. Agents arrived and observed a large crowd standing around the bar with many of them consuming alcohol. Numerous people were moving about freely consuming alcohol, hugging each other, and crowded shoulder to shoulder in some places. None of the employees were wearing masks and no attempts were made to create social distancing. Agents issued an administrative citation which reflected the violation of improper conduct-disorderly activity.

On July 18, FWD Flats LLC, known as Forward, Cleveland, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Officers and agents observed several hundred people on the premises and egregious violations of Ohio Department of Health orders. Patrons were standing, congregated, and dancing on a dance floor, the bar, and on tables. No social distancing measures were in place. This location was not engaged in food service of any type and was solely operating as a dance club.

On July 18, Isaiah R. Poindexter, known as All City Sports Bar and Grill, Youngstown, received two administrative citations for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Local authorities witnessed patrons congregating with no social distancing measures requested that OIU issue administrative citations against liquor permits violations of Ohio Department of Health orders. This location was previously cited on June 20 and July 3, after the Youngstown Police Department observed numerous patrons standing and congregating with no social distancing measures in place.

On July 18, Amy May’s Tacos, Findlay, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. OIU agents visited Amy May’s Tacos after receiving a complaint from the Hancock County Department of Health alleging violations of ODH orders. During the visit, agents found approximately 10 employees not wearing masks.

On July 18, Viaduct, Tiffin, was issued an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. OIU agents visited Viaduct bar after receiving a complaint from the Seneca County Department of Health alleging violations of ODH orders. During the visit, agents observed several employees not wearing masks.

On July 18, Down River Specialties Incorporated, known as Club Paradis, Cleveland, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Officers entered this adult entertainment establishment and observed over 150 people in a very confined space and egregious violations of Ohio Department of Health orders. No social distancing measures of any type were in place and patrons, dancers, and other staff were engaging in repeated, direct contact.

On July 19, Down River Specialties Incorporated, known as Club Paradis, Cleveland, received a second administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. The location was previously cited in the early hours of July 18. OIU Agents, working with personnel from the Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH), and Cleveland Division of Fire visited the adult entertainment establishment and observed immediate violations. While overall occupancy was noticeably reduced from the previous night’s enforcement, egregious violations of ODH and CDPH remained as patrons, dancers, and staff were observed in repeated and direct contact with one another. These violations include patrons standing and dancing, while many others congregated in a small area; and adult entertainers on stage and performing dances in close or direct contact with patrons. In addition to the second administrative citation, Cleveland Police issued a misdemeanor criminal summons to the owner for violations of ODH and CDPH health orders.

Although many bars and restaurants were found in compliance with health orders, a number of warnings were issued throughout the weekend.

The cited cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.

“The goal of these compliance checks is to safeguard all patrons by ensuring that liquor-permitted establishments maintain compliancy, so they can continue to serve their customers and everyone can enjoy a safe and healthy experience,” said OIU Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot. “Educating liquor-permit holders about the order has been the priority of the Ohio Investigative Unit, however when egregious violations are observed, enforcement action is taken. We’re asking patrons to help out their favorite bars and restaurants by following the precautions put in place to make these establishments safe and compliant with the directives.”

The Ohio Investigative Unit is made up of fully-sworn, plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco, and food stamp fraud laws. Agents conduct compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act. Agents also act on complaints of illegal activity on liquor permit premises. In addition to providing the safety checks associated with the COVID-19 directives, OIU agents continue to perform their normal compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act.

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Staff report

galnews@aimmediamidwest.com

The Ohio Investigative Unit is charged with enforcing the state’s liquor laws and is the only state law enforcement agency specifically tasked with investigating food stamp fraud crimes. Agents also investigate tobacco violations. Follow OIU on Facebook and on Twitter.

The Ohio Investigative Unit is charged with enforcing the state’s liquor laws and is the only state law enforcement agency specifically tasked with investigating food stamp fraud crimes. Agents also investigate tobacco violations. Follow OIU on Facebook and on Twitter.