Licensing Authority Revokes Beer and Wine License For Scottie’s Pizza

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Scottie's Famous Pizza had its beer and wine license taken away yesterday by the Barnstable Licensing Authority.

Scottie’s Famous Pizza had its beer and wine license taken away yesterday by the Barnstable Licensing Authority.

HYANNIS – The Barnstable Licensing Authority voted yesterday to revoke the beer and wine license of Scottie’s Famous Pizza because the owner did not immediately let a police officer into the establishment.

The restaurant owner’s attorney said the punishment was way too harsh.

“It was a five to eight minute incident, wherein the glass door was opened after four or five minutes. Indiscretion? Without question. But the penalty needs to fit the crime,” said David Lawlor, attorney for Scottie’s.

Scottie’s moved earlier this spring into the former home of Shanghai Restaurant on Ridgewood Avenue in Hyannis. The Shanghai was ordered closed by the licensing authority in January after police said it had become like a clubhouse for drug dealers.

On June 26, the first day Scottie’s had obtained a liquor license and was allowed to serve beer and wine, Barnstable Police Officer Steven Maher, who is a liaison to the licensing authority, came to the restaurant after hours to perform an inspection.

But the owner of the restaurant, Alex MacDonald, did not immediately let Maher in.

According to testimony given during the licensing authority hearing, MacDonald said the restaurant was closed and asked why Maher wanted to come in.

“Because I’m a police officer and I said so,” Maher replied.

Maher called for back up and Barnstable Police Lieutenant John Murphy arrived and entered the restaurant.

MacDonald’s attorney, David Lawlor emphasized that Maher’s testimony indicated that the period of time that the officer was not allowed to enter the restaurant was about five to eight minutes.

He recommended a punishment of taking away the restaurant’s beer and wine license for 60 days as punishment for the infraction.

“I suggest to you that a loss of license for 60 days effective immediately is a substantial penalty. It’s tens of thousands of dollars in a new business,” Lawlor said.

Lawlor had wanted to present a video taken the night of the incident but Licensing Authority Chairman Martin Hoxie did not allow it, saying the person who took the video had to be present.

The video was taken by MacDonald’s brother with his cell phone during the incident with the police. Lawlor said the video showed that some of the testimony presented by Maher and Murphy was inaccurate in terms of what occurred.

Lawlor said his client had come to the end of a long day of hard work when Maher arrived at the door demanding to come in and let his anger get the better of him.

MacDonald apologized to the board for his behavior and said that he realized that ignorance of the law was no excuse.

But Lt. Murphy said the fact that MacDonald admitted that he had not read the rules for liquor license holders indicated he did not have the maturity to hold a license.

Lawlor admitted his client made an error in judgement, but he protested the punishment.

“I do not believe that under any circumstances that mistake warrants the loss of license permanently, as this board is being recommended to act upon by Officer Maher,” Lawlor said.

When it came time to vote, the licensing authority voted unanimously to take the license away permanently.

The board also voted to suspend the business’s common victualler and entertainment licenses for five days. That suspension will take effect in five days, allowing MacDonald an opportunity to appeal the suspension.

He can also appeal the revocation, which takes effect immediately.

MacDonald will be allowed to reapply for a license in one year.

Reached after the hearing, Lawlor said he did not want to comment on the matter.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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