Counting on the LC Adjudication Board to take it easy on you is like counting on a centipede to be a gentle snuggling partner: possible, but more likely you’ll get bit in the ass.
So when Jose Franco, owner of Juca Mexican Restaurant in Maalaea, appeared before the board for the second time in less than a year, it seemed almost certain he’d get the pincers.
In June 2009, Juca was hit with three counts stemming from a December 2008 incident: failing “to register and obtain approval from the director for minors”; failing “to provide adequate supervision at all times by an ‘employee approved by the director’ for employees under twenty-one years of age”; and failing “to have an on-duty employee duly approved by the director in active charge of the premises.” The result was $6,000 in fines, $2,000 suspended pending good behavior.
So much for that. On January 7, the board considered two more complaints against Juca, stemming from an April 2009 incident that sounded remarkably similar to the other one, only this time, in addition to having no approved employee on the premises, they sold a Corona to a minor decoy.
Since the second incident, Franco said, he’s brought in outside management. In fact, he had a representative by his side. She helped him answer questions, and assured the board the proper steps have been taken to prevent further violations.
Still, it was hard to imagine Franco escaping without a license suspension. And yet he did. Instead, Juca got another $4,000 in fines, $1,000 suspended. Add the suspended money the restaurant now has to pay from the previous violations and it’s still a hit, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Guess the centipede was feeling snuggly after all. – MauiTime, Jacob Shafer