It was Karl Marx who observed that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. Though looking at the Maui County Liquor Control Board of Adjudication’s Sept. 1 actions concerning the popular Makawao restaurant and nightclub Casanova, it’s hard to tell which descriptor to apply.
At that hearing, the board once again voted to give the Maui County Prosecutor’s Office more time to prepare its cases—a courtesy the board has repeatedly denied defendant establishments in the past.
On Sept. 1, the board was to hear two cases against Casanova—both involving charges that the club served customers who were already drunk. Steven Burgelin, one of the club’s owners, appeared as he was supposed to, though he decided to act as his own attorney.
But Deputy Prosecutor Angela Hedge didn’t show. Rather than dismiss the case—as board member Lance Collins recommended—the board inexplicably chose to let Liquor Control Director Franklyn Silva act as temporary prosecutor, then voted to defer the two cases to a later date.
For Burgelin, this was too much. He argued for a dismissal, saying that if the situation were reversed and he the one who hadn’t shown up, the board wouldn’t have hesitated to throw the book at him.
“Casanova very strenuously objected,” Collins said after the hearing. “They had very good reasons and gave really good arguments.”
In an eerie repeat of the Aug. 4, 2005 Adjudication Board hearing, in which Collins objected to the board deferring a case against the Sly Mongoose in Lahaina because the prosecution wasn’t prepared, Collins told his colleagues on the board that they were denying due process to Casanova. Like the previous month’s hearing, the board ignored Collins’ protests.
After the hearing, Burgelin sympathized with Collins. “He’s really isolating himself,” he said. “As soon as he opens his mouth their [the other board members’] eyes go to the ceiling. I’m glad he’s there, don’t get me wrong, but my feeling is the others don’t even consider his points.”