BLOOMINGTON — A downtown tavern received what Mayor Tari Renner said was the city’s largest-ever fine for a Bloomington liquor establishment.
The Bloomington Liquor Commission on Wednesday ordered Chasers, 110 W. Washington St., to pay a total of $14,000 in fines for admitting and serving alcohol to 26 underage patrons on May 3 and six underage patrons on April 26.
Renner said the fine amount was “unprecedented” and signaled that the City Council and liquor commission are “committed to revitalizing downtown Bloomington” and believe “we need to get control of the situation downtown.”
In the sanctions agreed to by Chasers, the liquor commission also required Chasers to install a camera system that would check identification cards and take photographs of them alongside each patron.
City attorney George Boyle said the camera system was requested by the Bloomington Police Department.
He said Chasers had argued that underage patrons used fake IDs to gain entrance into the bar but there was no other information available to determine that. The camera would solve that problem in the future, he said.
The camera must be installed by Nov. 15, and Chasers can deduct $2,500 of the cost from the fine amount due to the city.
“My client intends to be a good operator and on the whole has been a good operator. The camera can be effective in preventing and a good source of documentation in the future,” said Robert Lenz, an attorney for Chasers owner Ron Nurceski.
The bar’s liquor license also will be suspended for two days, from 2 a.m. on Nov. 29 until 2 a.m. on Dec. 1, and all employees must complete a Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education Training (BASSET) course by the end of the year.
Since the violations, Chasers has discharged the door staff in place at the time of the violation.
According to the agreed order, Chasers also violated liquor rules in June 2010 by allowing in and serving alcohol to two underage patrons. Before that, its last violation had been in May 2005.
When sanctioning liquor establishments, the liquor commission generally looks at the violation history over the previous three years.
The sanctions approved Wednesday are up for review on Jan. 14, 2014.