By Beth David, Editor
At its meeting on 10/23/23, the Fairhaven Select Board discussed possible penalties to levy against Rasputin’s Tavern after ascertaining that the bar had violated laws and/or regulations on six separate occasions from December of 2021 and as recently as June of this year.
The violations included serving alcohol after hours, serving an intoxicated person, disturbance of the peace. Not all the votes were unanimous.
The board unanimously voted “no” to an allegation of sales to an underage person. Rasputin’s had claimed at an earlier meeting that the person was not drinking, that she worked for the bar.
The board then discussed possible penalties for the bar. Each violation could result in a suspension of the bar’s license for two to 11 days.
SB member Bob Espindola said he wanted to learn more about the security plan, which clearly failed. He said he wanted to discuss possible amendments to the plan before issuing a penalty.
Several issues came to light at the 9/20 meeting when the alleged violations were discussed and the bar put on a defense. There was a problem getting surveillance camera footage; the ID scanner was not working; and there was no log to show how many security people were working at each shift.
Mr. Espindola said that if the security plan had been in place it would have prevented the violations.
Town Counsel Christopher Petrini discussed with the board the possibility of giving the bar some time to comply, then returning to the board for the penalty phase. If they are not in compliance at that point, then further penalties could be assessed.
Ms. Espindola suggested the board vote on a penalty and possibly defer it or be more lenient if the security plan is put in place quickly.
He made a motion for the minimum number of days, a total of 12, for the bar’s license to be suspended, with the stipulation that the security plan be updated and that the police department would be notified whenever the ID scanner or security camera is not functioning.
Mr. Espindola said he felt that a 12 day suspension was “significant.”
“I don’t think 12 days is significant at all,” said SB chair Leon Correy, adding that one of the incidents included an assault on a police officer.
“I’d like to hear an alternative then,” said Mr. Espindola.
SB member Keith Silvia said he had a problem with the low number.
“I’m going for 56,” he said.
SB member Stasia Powers said she there needed to be an incentive for the bar to make the changes.
“I would like to see some sort of carrot along with the stick,” she said.
The incentive is being in business, said Mr. Correy. The incentive is just following the rules not to get a penalty.
SB member Charles Murphy said he would like to see the security plan in place before he vote on any amount of days.
After a bit more back and forth, the board voted to hold off on issuing the penalties until the next meeting on 11/6. Before then, representatives from the bar will meet with Town Counsel to work on the security plan.
“We are open to working with the town to make sure we are more compliant,” said Rasputin’s attorney, Tyler Henseler.
At the next meeting, the board will vote on the security plan and the penalty.
In another matter, Ms. Ellison updated the board on the families staying at the Seaport Inn as part of the state’s emergency shelter program.
She told the board there were 20 families at the inn. They are receiving assistance, she said, for a variety of services, including getting any children into school.
The community has responded positively, said Ms. Ellison with donations. They still need winter clothing, boots, shoes, socks.
“It’s been a team effort,” said Ms. Ellison.
“Kudos to all the staff members,” she said who helped make it less impactful for the community and the families. It is traumatic for the families, she said.
Not all the families are recent migrants, she said. Some have been in the state for six or seven years. They have been in a variety of shelters. She said rumors have been that they are undocumented or “illegal aliens.”
She said that would be ET.
“They’re human beings,” said Ms. Ellison. “And Fairhaven has been positive in responding to their needs.”
Ms. Ellison also announced that Mike Jenney will be the new Veterans Services Officer, as Brad Fish is retiring.
Mr. Jenney is an Air Force veteran and the Commander of the Acushnet American Legion.
Click here to download the 11/2/23 issue: 11-02-23 AcushFireOpenHse
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