And now for another installment in the endlessly entertaining game of Ask LC Watch! This week’s question comes to us from someone named Jill, who posted it at Mauitime.com on Nov. 9.
“I was just curious as to where the money from these fines goes,” Jill wrote. “Does it go towards a worthy cause, or into the pockets of our trusty LC officers? $2,000 here, $4,000 there… that’s kind of a lot of money.”
Thanks for your question, Jill—if that is your real name. Yes, every time the Liquor Control Board of Adjudication fines an establishment for over-service, serving a minor or even just being open after 2 a.m., the money goes into the LC’s coffers. But what’s interesting about this is that we’re not really talking about a lot of money—at least, this year.
According to the Maui County Department of Liquor Control’s 2007 Annual Report, which came out a few weeks ago, the LC levied $36,800 in fines last year, which is the lowest annual total in the last four years, since I started covering the LC. In fiscal year 2006, the LC slapped down $40,150 in fines, which is more but paled before the 2005 total of $149,800 ($50,000 of that was incurred by the Hyatt during that celebrated case of repeated over-serving minors which led to the death of an 18-year-old cheerleader, but it’s still a lot of money). In 2004, the LC took in $64,700.
Of course, most of the LC’s annual take comes from license fees: $1,048,946.15 last year, which makes the adjudication fines look like couch change. But like the fines, the license fee figure is low when compared to previous years. In 2005, which was apparently a banner year for booze, the LC took in an astonishing $2.1 million in fees.
(If you’ve got a question for LC Watch, email firstname.lastname@example.org or post it online at www.mauitime.com)