Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angela Hedge could barely contain the contempt in her voice. “Is this a contested case hearing or a no contest hearing?” she snapped.
The rest of the Liquor Control Adjudication Board looked at her. She was clearly perturbed, irritated—even, dare I say—angry at the way the board was handling its own hearing.
“He’s not challenging,” Board chairman Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama finally told her. “He’s just presenting some facts.”
The “he” Murayama referred to was Barry Tippett, president of the parent company owning the Sports Page Grill and Bar in Kihei. That Murayama had to calm down Hedge—who’s usually accustomed to getting her way during Adjudication Board hearings—shows how unusual the Oct. 6, 2005 hearing truly was.
Until Hedge threw a fit, Tippett had been trying to explain why he was pleading No Contest to a single charge of serving an already-intoxicated customer who had been arrested for driving under the influence not long after walking out of the Sports Page. Of course, his method of explanation involved questioning the motives of the drunk in question and raising questions about Hedge’s case, but as Murayama pointed out, it was his right.
What really seemed to provoke Hedge was the point when Tippett circulated a copy of the May 9, 2005 bill of sale that seemed to show conclusively that the drunk had left the Sports Page at midnight—55 minutes before he got into an accident just 10 minutes down the road. That every board member sat up and scrutinized the bill showed the LC hadn’t placed a copy in their incident reports.
Still, even if Tippett hadn’t plead No Contest, Hedge knew she had a good case. No one was questioning that Sports Page had served a drunk, and that’s a violation of the county liquor laws. And she knew she had good standing to ask for a $2,000 fine, which would, as she put it, have a “deterrent effect” on other licensees.
As it turned out, the board fined Tippett $2,000, but suspended $1,000 of it if he could keep the drunks out of the Sports Page for a year.