Alcoholic beverage law enforcement varies from case to case, Oklahoma records show
While it hasn't generated many this year in the Oklahoma City area, the state's Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission has handed out hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and meted out other forms of punishment in recent years.
“This liquor is of a high quality,” the report states, “and violations of this sort have been detected in the past where establishments will use a less expensive liquor of the same type to refill bottles.”
A more recent episode led to a $4,500 fine for Club ATL in Oklahoma City.
In March, police and ABLE agents raided the club when they noticed a line of people waiting to enter it at 2:25 a.m. — nearly 30 minutes after clubs are legally required to close and stop serving alcohol for the night.
When agents and officers finally cleared the club out, they searched a liquor storage cabinet and found two bottles of Crown Royal with different color fluid inside of them.
Commission records show the club was never actually cited for refilling, but the trend is real in the Oklahoma City area.
The well-known Oklahoma City nightclub City Walk was fined $7,500 in 2011 for buying liquor from a retail store.
The liquor store, Sam's Wholesale, faced the same fine, and two City Walk employees essentially were placed on probation for meeting a man who was delivering the alcohol.
The roughly 130 bottles of hard liquor, when broken down into single servings, would be worth nearly $20,000 inside the nightclub, ABLE records show.
Maisch said the City Walk case demonstrates how competitive the nightclub and liquor industries can be.
“We don't know who gave us that tip,” he said. “It could've been another nightclub owner or it could've been the owner of another liquor store.”
Maisch said the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission becomes involved in cases involving topless bars because the state Legislature requires the agency to do so.
Most of such cases are initiated by undercover police officers investigating lewd behavior by topless dancers.
Those cases, however, are not pursued quite as vigorously as others, the attorney said.
“We do act on those referrals,” Maisch said. “But there's a point at which you have to make a decision for the sake of judicial economy.”
Currently, the commission has a case pending against Little Darlings, which was raided by Oklahoma County sheriff's deputies earlier in the year. Numerous dancers were arrested.
In September, the club Centerfolds was fined $2,250 by the ABLE Commission after Oklahoma City police raided the establishment as they investigated lewd behavior.
And while punishments meted out by the ABLE Commission typically come in the form of fines or license suspensions and revocations, they can vary as well.
One man, for instance, was required to attend a year's worth of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after he was cited in May for selling alcohol to a minor at a liquor store in Oklahoma City.
Randell Leroy Easley, who is 55, sold a bottle of vodka to a 17-year-old girl who was working for the ABLE Commission as an undercover informant.
Records kept by ABLE show the mature-looking girl had dyed blue hair at the time of the purchase.
Along with the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Easley must complete the terms of his probation from a driving under the influence case in Canadian County.
If he doesn't go to the meetings or successfully complete his probation, Easley will have his Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement license revoked for five years — in addition to whatever actions the criminal courts will take against him.