Heard a rumor a few days ago that a local club got into trouble with the LC over a story we’d recently run. I found this particularly distastefulnot so much that a club would get into trouble (that happens often enough) but that the county Liquor Control department was using Maui Time Weekly (of all papers) as a tip sheet.
The place was Tip Ups Tavern and Grill, and the story was our Sept. 13 feature “Booty Money,” in which writer Heidi King explained how she made more money at a dance contest held there than she did during a seven-hour server shift at a local resort.
“We talked about it the story,” LC Director Franklyn Silva told me. “I looked at it.”
But Silva denied Tip Ups was getting into any trouble. “No, no trouble,” he said. “Nobody’s in trouble. No violationat least, nothing I’ve signed.”
Silva said he and his department were “very interested” in the part of the story where King wrote about the other contestantsparticularly, the first girl.
“The first girl to take the floor was wasted,” King wrote. “Well, I hope she was wasted because she looked like a whore.”
This is just dramatic description. Taken by itself, the first sentence would seem to be what LC investigators are always looking for: a straight-up identification of over-service, which can bring a bar owner anything from a $2,000-fine to a suspended liquor license.
But then there’s the little matter of that second sentencethe one that casts doubt on the initial observation by adding a second, somewhat scathing observation that casts doubt on the idea that the first girl in the contest was “wasted.”
When pressed, Silva continued to deny that his department had written up Tip Ups, but then dropped the tiny caveat “so far.” Laughing, he added that, “we do pay attention to your paper.”
Nothing may yet have happened to Tip Ups, but it’s all but certain LC investigators will be spending a lot more time watching the place. And for that, I apologize.