State not accepting any ‘Excuses’

Officials plan to yank liquor license for tavern that hasn’t paid smoking violation fines
Tom Jackson
Dec 2, 2013
If you can’t pay the fine, don’t allow the violations.

That’s the attitude state liquor control officials are adopting with one local business owner who refuses to pay $24,000 in fines racked up for smoking violations in his Perkins Township tavern.

The state intends to yank the liquor license for Excuses, a bar in the plaza at Strub Road near Columbus Avenue.

Because of unpaid interest, the actual figure owed is closer to $40,000, said Sharon Schaeffer, community health director for the Erie County Health Department.

Excuses owes more money in smoking fines than any other Erie County bar.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office has been attempting to collect unpaid fines and has begun targeting the liquor licenses for bars that owe large amounts.

The AG’s office is trying to collect fines in 1,400 cases and has targeted the liquor licenses at 15 businesses statewide with high fines, Schaeffer said.

Ohio Division of Liquor Control officials denied renewal of the liquor license for O.T. Perkins LLC, the license holder for Excuses.

Excuses owner Terry Smith appealed the decision to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, but commissioners upheld the denial Nov. 18, said Brian Hoyt, a spokesman for the agency.

Smith has until Dec. 9 to file an appeal in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Hoyt said.

As of Wednesday morning, no appeal had been filed.

Smith did not return a phone call to Excuses requesting comment.

He lost a battle earlier this year when he tried to block the fines in an Erie County court case.

Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette ruled Smith waited until it was too late to contest the fines.

“To allow Excuses to sit back, never appeal, refuse to pay the invoices and years later raise issues which could and should have been raised … is improper,” Binette wrote.

Schaeffer outlined where the department stands in trying to collect unpaid fines from other local bars.

Boze’s Bar owes $3,200 and Pump Bar and Grill owes $6,600.

Neither business has made any payments, she said.

Driftwood Tavern formerly owed $4,100, but it has made payments and reduced that sum.

Kaman’s Korner had total fines of $1,600 and has paid $600 so far.

Bud’s Place has paid its fines, Schaeffer said.

Comments

lugnut2511

The state liquor control, is totally different than the health department. What liquor violations has this place done? This is BS, your right FlyBoy.. Liquor control has no right sticking their noses into this what so ever.

topcop1991

Why should anyone be forced to breath toxic air? Bars are not smoking lounges! Non smokers have rights too. You can always tell when someone is a smoker, as they look older for thier age, stink of smoke, and usually end up dying younger than they would have they not been stupid and started smoking. It is not COOL!

grumpy

RE: "Why should anyone be forced to breath toxic air? "

Is someone holding a gun or knife on you and forcing you into the bar? Is it the only bar?

Nemesis

Exactly. I have hearing damage from being around too much loud music. In most bars you have to shout to have a conversation. You don't see me demanding a law that bans loud music in bars.

Stop It

If the bar posts on all entry ways that it allows smoking, for you whiney non smokers....don't walk in.

I personally quit a while back. That doesn't give me the right to tell someone else they can't.

That law has hurt many bars and they are fighting it. With action and trying to get the law changed.

goodtime1212

I do agree that in the short term it may hurt the bars, but in long term the generation coming to age that can go into bars will not know anything different, so it will become the new norm, if it already hasn't.

doppleganger

Remember when you could smoke in the grocery store? Crazy. I for one am glad you can't smoke in bars. I remember when my employer banned smoking in our workplace (before the new law). Sure, we whined, but guess what? We all smoked less and that has to be more healthy. I am going on 6 years without and now when I am in a room full of smokers it gives me a "hangover" the next day. It does something to me and zaps all of my energy. It's actually worse than an alcohol hangover. But I know what I am getting in to and If I don't like it I won't go there.

Contango

Re: "my employer banned smoking in our workplace,"

Probably got tired of the ees. wasting time on cigarette breaks and wanted to improve worker productivity.

Ban smoking, next 64 oz. drinks, trans fats, too much salt, sugar, etc.

This society is headed for the bureaucratic central planners deciding each & every single facet of our lives.

Eventually it'll all seem normal and we won't miss our freedom, because they'll assure us that we're free.

doppleganger

Re: "Probably got tired of the ees. wasting time on cigarette breaks and wanted to improve worker productivity."

No, we could smoke at our work station while working. After they banned it is when we had to go on break and go outside.

Before anyone tries to tell me what I can and cannot eat, they better look at taking pop and candy off of the welfare cards. No nutritional value - no food stamp card. I actually use my own money to eat unhealthy.

Nemesis

"Sure, we whined, but guess what? We all smoked less and that has to be more healthy. I am going on 6 years without"

So, doppelganger, your justification is that you want someone to force you to take the positive steps you lack the wherewithal to take on your own?

Nemesis

So, goodtime, your argument is now that tyranny is OK because after a generation or so, people will forget what freedom was?

Licorice Schtick

"whiney non smokers"? Seriously? Because from where I sit it's the smokers and the dive bars that illegally permit smoking that are doing the whining.

puddin95

But the bookmaking is o.k. ?

Centauri

QUESTION: Where do the fines go?

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794.08
"There is hereby created in the state treasury the smoke free indoor air fund. All fines collected pursuant to this chapter and any grant, contribution, or other moneys received by the department of health for the purposes of this chapter shall be credited to the smoke free indoor air fund and used solely for the purposes of this chapter."

I checked the Ohio State Treasury and found NO such fund. I called and even sent an email about this "phantom" fund. Nobody in Ohio could give me a decent answer.

http://www.tos.ohio.gov/

Where is the money?

QUESTION: Why should anybody pay the fine if nobody at the state level can account for it?

ORC 3794.08 must be another joke Ohio law if a "smoke free indoor air fund" cannot be found or accounted for. Where did the money go? General fund? Nobody at the state level in Ohio seems to know.

A Young Adult's...

Unreal. Not allowing smoking in bars has absolutely nothing to do with our freedoms. They aren't being denied the right to smoke. They are only being denied the right to negatively affect other people with their smoking. You want to smoke? Take your lazy butt outside.

bucsfan98

amen thats how i feel to

Nemesis

No. Youmg Adult and several others here have a crippling misconception of freedom. Let's break it down with an example:

We have bar patrons A, B, and C. A is a smoker, and likes to have a smoke with his whiskey. B is a non-smoker, but he doesn't mind a smoky bar because there are women there who smoke, and his stock in trade is picking up women who make poor choices. C is a non-smoker who is nauseated at the mere sight of someone smoking, even on TV.

We have two bar owners, D and E. D is an ex-smoker, the most ardent type of anti-smoker, and would never allow smoking in his establishment. E doesn't care one way or the other, but he's discovered that smokers tend to drink more (addictive personalities and all that.)

In a free society (you know, what the Founders intended and what some people would still like to think America is) D and E can each set the policy in their own establishment. A and B can go to E's bar, and get what they want - a drink with a smoke, or the opportunity to buy drinks for women who smoke, respectively. C can go to D's bar. Everybody's needs get met in VOLUNTARY transactions. No one is forced to do buy or sell anything against their wishes. Yes, B is exposed to second hand smoke, but he CHOOSES to accept that risk because he perceives a benefit that, to him, is worth the risk. The free market is allowed to work, and if there are more customers who want a smoking bar, E can grow his business, and open more locations; if there are more customers who want a smoke-free bar, then D will be able to expand. Before anyone objects that it can't work that way, it was in the years before this law went into effect, and the number of establishments that were smoke-free BY CHOICE was rapidly growing.

In the fascist model some of you are advocating, C is outraged that someone who doesn't share his preferences is getting what they want (which is typically the impulse that drives statist/authoritarian/fascist initiatives.) So he gets the government to pass a law that ALL bars must cater to HIS preferences. Now C is happy. D is happy because he doesn't have to compete with E in a free market. A, B, however, can't get what they want - their preferences have been declared anathema by Big Brother, and E is not allowed to offer the goods and services his customers desire. A sizable portion of the population has their rights to freedom of association, freedom to transact business, and freedom to CHOOSE what risks they accept FOR THEMSELVES denied.

By the way, in that illustration, the person whose view of smoking is closest to my own is C. However, unlike some of you, I don't seek to impose my preferences on others through force.

A Young Adult's...

What you fail to understand is this goes beyond preference. Smoking in establishments affects other patron's health. Your long rant was not needed as I completely understand why you think you are all-knowing.

As to the right to choose to allow it, if one owner does, every owner will. As a non-smoker, why should my choice on where to grab a drink be affected by others? Smoking is the unhealthy behavior which negatively affects others in close proximity.

Nemesis

"What you fail to understand is this goes beyond preference. Smoking in establishments affects other patron's health. "

So do a LOT of preferences. It's still JUST a preference - you can live a perfectly healthy life without ever setting foot in a bar. You prefer to drink socially without the risk of second hand smoke, others prefer otherwise, or have no preference. You want everyone to be forced to live under your preferences.

"As to the right to choose to allow it, if one owner does, every owner will."

The empirical evidence says otherwise, since Northern Ohio has had smoke free eating and drinking establishments longer than anyone qualified to call themselves a young adult has been of drinking age, and in the 5 years prior to this law's passage, the number grew dramatically. The market speaks and vendors respond, and, as some of your fellow supporters have pointed out, the market for smoke-free bars is large enough to constitute a majority of Ohio voters.

Thus, your assertion is factually false. By the time this law passed, about the only type of bar you couldn't find in a smoke free version was a dive biker bar catering to the low tooth-to-tattoo crowd, but let's face it, if you're into being all self righteous about healthy lifestyles AND want to hang out in a place like that, it means you're OK with far bigger threats to your health than second hand smoke.

"As a non-smoker, why should my choice on where to grab a drink be affected by others? Smoking is the unhealthy behavior which negatively affects others in close proximity."

So is music played at the volume typical in bars. Why should potentially hundreds of other customers have to accommodate your preference? I like classical music - should I march into a country/western bar and demand they change the tune? And yes, before you waste time claiming it's not the same, it is, and here's why:

You have the right to purchase a drink in your choice of environment from any willing vendor. You have the right to purchase whatever goods or services you like, PROVIDED you can find someone willing to sell it to you at an agreeable price. If no one is willing to sell you what you want, in a free society, you're out of luck. I would very much like to try haggis, but no one is willing to make it and serve it because no one else wants it. That doesn't give me the right to have the government force a restaurant to serve it to me at gunpoint.

And yes, it's the same - a drink in a smoke free environment, haggis in a restaurant, they are both goods and services that people might seek to purchase. The fact that the drink in the smoke free environment is better for your health than the drink in the smoky environment doesn't change the fact that they are both goods that people willingly buy and sell, any more than the differing health impact of tofu versus pork rinds changes the fact that they are both goods that people willingly buy and sell. The fact that you want to buy a drink in a smoke free bar at the corner of Columbus and Strub no more obligates someone to operate a smoke free bar at that location than it obligates anyone to operate ANY kind of bar there.

In the end, it's commodity A and commodity B, where B is provably harmful to your health in comparison to A. You can buy whichever one for which you can find willing sellers. Except you can't STAND that someone else is a buying commodity B just around the corner from where you're buying commodity A, so you have to get our benevolent overlords to force everyone to only buy and sell commodity A. No matter how you spin it, you're the one who's FORCIBLY denying someone what they want to buy when someone's willing to sell it to them, and that makes you the fascist side of this controversy. No one is trying to stop you from completing an a voluntary transaction with a willing party.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you live in a town where you're the only person in town who want's a smoke free bar. All the bar owners own in town are independently wealthy, own their buildings outright, no landlords or mortgages, and thus can afford to simply close up shop in protest of this law. So, despite the law, you STILL can't grab a drink in a smoke free bar anywhere in town. Would you have the state send armed troops into town to force those owners to open for business and operate bars against their will? After all, it violates the same bizarre rights you assert in justification of this law - the right to have someone sell you a drink in the environment you prefer against their will.

Dr. Information

Bottom line they should have let the owner of an establishment make the call. That is how this entire smoking ban should of went down.

Informed

No. An owner of a business has no right to allow some patrons to harm other patrons, not to mention employees.

Contango

Well, better ban alcohol, cause it's abuse is estimated to cost our society approx. $224B annually.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/h...

No bars & no smoking for a healthier country right?

Dr. Information

Beat me to the punch Contango. So its okay for patrons to go into a bar, get plowed drunk, hop in a car and kill someone vs not being okay for an owner to set the rules of what is and isn't allowed (smoking).

Going into an establishment is not a right, its a choice. If you don't like smoke, don't go in, take your money somewhere else.

Contango

Hey! Once the U.S. achieves universal "free" healthcare, I can think of a lot of sports and activities that I don't participate in or care about that should be banned.

Why in h*ll should I help fund someone's recklessness or unhealthy behavior?

(He wrote factiously.)

BTW: Herr Hitler notoriously hated smoking and was undoubtedly the original "smoking Nazi."

Informed

Where on earth did you come up with that I ever said drinking and driving are okay? That is an ignorant response!
It is not every allowable for a business owner to allow a patron to harm another patron, whether it be with physical violence, or secondhand smoke.
If an establishment is open to the public, then all people have the right to go there unless there is a legal reason that they don't have that right (under 21, probation, etc).
If you want to smoke, go outside or do it on your own property. Knock yourself out! But do not do it around me in a place of business that I have every right to be in as you.

Contango

Re: "If you want to smoke, go outside or do it on your own property."

So would you be OK with banning smoking in cars or homes with children in them?

Informed

Cars are your own property. Duh. And I don't think any child should be exposed to secondhand smoke, and parents that do that are not good parents. Good parents do not purposefully and consistently place their child in harm's way. Just like car seats. Parents that don't make their child sit in them are not good parents. Period.

Contango

Re: "Cars are your own property."

And the bar isn't the owner's property? Duh.

It's your CHOICE to go into a smoking bar or not.

Informed

But it is open to the public. A person's car is not.

Contango

Re: " But it is open to the public."

Or not. The legislation didn't even allow for for-profit "clubs."

This is a case of the law overstepping into private property rights and it should be unconstitutional.

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