Dude, you have to show up for your ABC Board Hearing

Failing to appear for your ABC Board hearing has consequences

Yesterday I was thinking about this bar owner client that I had a decade ago. Both the owner and the bar, were my favorite, ever. One of the owner’s many attributes is that he would show up at every ABC Board hearing that was vaguely related to his establishment, even when he did not have to.

Status hearings, roll calls, factfinding, public moratorium hearings, he was there. He was like the Cal Ripken of ABC Board hearings. He never missed one. His eyes were half closed, he smelled like yesterday’s whiskey and was wearing last week’s shirt. Ok, so more like Wade Boggs than Cal, but there he was waiting for me, always with the same joke: “Hey, Richie, why do they always have these things in the middle of the night.” He laughed. He thought he was hilarious, another endearing quality.

The lesson that all licensees can take from my old saloon keeper client is that you have to show up.

The present Board has zero tolerance for non-appearing parties

Over the years the composition of the Board changes when members rotate with new Mayoral administrations. With new appointees, views on procedural issues change. There is no question that this Board has no tolerance for parties that do not make it to hearings.

In license application protests over the last several months, the Board has reiterated, time-and-again, that if you don’t show up to your Roll Call or Status Hearing, your Application is automatically dismissed.

Although you can ask the Board to reinstate your application, you better have a good reason. “I forgot,” or confusion on the dates, or thinking your manager was going to attend does not fly. You need to show “good cause” for failing to appear for your ABC Board hearing if you want a second chance. See In re: Yegna Restaurant and Lounge, Inc. t/a Asefu’s Palace 18-PRO-00016 Board Order No. 2018-371 (D.C.A.B.C.B. June 6, 2018)

What is ‘good cause?’ It’s a bit gray, but “oops” does not qualify. Good cause is something that is beyond your control, like a car wreck, medical emergency or getting the wrong date from the Agency. Anything else sends you back to ‘go’ and you know what that means.

If your request for reinstatement is denied you have to file a new application, pay a new application fee, and post new placards for 45 days. Then, if you can’t settle, 3-6 months in the Protest Hearing Process. That can be devastating for a new establishment trying to open its doors, or a fledgling one trying to change its operations to keep up.

Smart owners hire experienced counsel

The safest thing for an owner to do is to hire an experienced lawyer to watch your back. Then, if “oops” happens, your lawyer will be present to keep the case alive. Hiring a lawyer for an ABC application is not as expensive as you think. I charge a flat fee to shepherd you through the process so you know your hard costs, up-front.

If you are interested in my services for an ABC Application, whether for a new license or to change an existing one, contact me, or use my online scheduling tool to book an appointment for a free case evaluation. Or, if you are ready to move forward with your application, you can book the service directly from my online scheduling tool.

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