Last year the Maui County Department of Liquor Control zealously went after bars and restaurants that got caught in minor decoy sting operations. This year, they’re really pushing over-service—serving booze to a customer who’s already drunk.
Koho Bar and Grill in Kahului—which apparently never had a problem with the LC before—was the latest to get heat from the LC’s Board of Adjudication. On Dec. 23, 2004, after drinking at least four bottles of Coors Light at Koho, a guy named Carl Ayaya got into a car accident. After being arrested for driving under the influence, he told officers he’d gotten drunk at Koho.
At the board’s Nov. 3, 2005 hearing, Koho pleaded no contest, saying they unquestionably served Ayaya more drinks than they should have. But they also cast doubt on the LC’s whole over-service policy.
“We’re guilty of serving him four to five beers,” general partner Roy Dunn told the board. “But we didn’t get him drunk.”
The licensee’s responsibility is to throw out visible drunks, Koho attorney Richard Rost told the board. But he also insisted that Ayaya “wasn’t visible” as a drunk to Koho’s staff. Had he been, Dunn said they never would have served him.
That’s a huge problem for the licensee. Dunn insisted that he trains his employees not to serve any alcohol to anyone who exhibits signs of drunkenness, but he also said they’re powerless when confronted with someone who doesn’t show any outward signs of intoxication.
The board didn’t seem to be listening. Board Member M.D. Alborano chastised Dunn, saying Ayaya “should have been cut off.” Dunn agreed—what else was he going to say?—but reiterated his point, saying his bartender had been with him for 10 years and was very good about watching customers.
In the end, serving Ayaya cost Koho $2,000, though the board—at Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Martin’s request—suspended half that amount if Koho can keep from over-serving another customer for a year.