Many of the cases involving the serving of minors or already intoxicated customers that come before the Liquor Control Board of Adjudication begin with routine calls LC investigators make to the Maui Police Department. During the late night, early morning hours, LC officers will call the PD and ask if they’ve got any drunks or liquor-related matters. If they do, the LCO will head over and open a case file right there.
The matter involving the Ka’anapali restaurant Rusty Harpoon that went before the board on May 4 didn’t start out that way. But it exemplifies the lengths LC investigators will go to pursue a potential violation.
Way back on the night of April 5, 2005, two guys—both underage—took seats at the Harpoon bar and began drinking. For reasons that aren’t very clear, the two guys left the Harpoon and promptly got into a fight with another Harpoon customer. That night, Maui police officers arrested both underage guys on charges of assault.
Should have been an easy investigation for the LC, given that the two perps were in custody the night of the incident. But the LC never investigated the guys that night. In fact, they didn’t talk to them—or anyone at the Harpoon—until late August and early September of 2005.
According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Temas, the guys eluded the LC by given phony contact info to the police, forcing the LC to spend the next five months checking “public information” in an attempt to find the guys. When they finally did track the two down, they conducted their interviews—apparently the passage of so much time didn’t harm their memories of the night one bit—and wrote up their complaint.
The LC charged Rusty Harpoon with 10 counts related to over-service and serving alcohol to minors. At first pleading not guilty, the Harpoon’s attorney cut a deal with Temas just minutes before the May 4 hearing was to begin, dropping the count list to just four in exchange for a no contest plea. The board later fined the Rusty Harpoon $8,000, $2,000 for each count.