Chairman Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama was indignant. “That is not to be presented,” he said. “If I’m challenged in court that’s fine.”
That was back on Feb. 2, 2006, when the Liquor Control Board of Adjudication heard the first of two over-service cases against the Makawao restaurant and nightclub Casanova. Murayama’s retired from the board, but his decision is being challenged in court.
During the June 1, 2006 Adjudication Board hearing, LC Director Franklyn Silva announced that Casanova hired an attorney and had gone to court to appeal the board’s guilty verdicts in both cases. Board members seemed more concerned with the possibility that they might have to deal with the matters again than with a judge potentially overturning their decisions.
There’s certainly plenty for the judge to look at. In the first case, involving a guy who drank beers all day at Iao Valley and then gone home to sleep before going to the club that night, the board found Casanova guilty of serving a drunk customer and failing to exercise due care. The second case, the events of which happened occur on the same day—May 11, 2005—as the first case, dealt with a woman who drank three glasses of wine in three hours. There, the board found Casanova innocent of serving a drunk and of failing to exercise due care, but guilty of letting a drunk on their premises.
The first case brought $3,500 in fines—$1,500 of which was suspended pending no further violations that year—while the second case brought a $2,000 fine with $1,000 suspended. The club paid the fines, but in both cases, Casanova general manager Steven Burgelin thought the board was asking his employees to do the impossible: namely, identify and isolate customers who didn’t seem to be intoxicated.
“Financially, we would be better off doing nothing,” Burgelin told me. “Our legal expenses cost way more than the fines. But it’s time to make a point.”