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.



Someone else drinking alcohol around me does not affect my health.


Re: "drinking alcohol,"

Many want to ban alcohol because of it's cost to society, why aren't you in favor of that?

The effects are not always direct like smoking.

Are you OK with legalizing marijuana?


This is a personal health issue, not a damage to society issue.


Re: "This is a personal health issue,"

And who is FORCING you to enter a smoking bar?


Again, I have every right to enter such establishment as anyone else and not be harmed.


Re: "I have every right to enter such establishment."

And you have every right NOT to enter an establishment.

BTW: Some people are "harmed" by others' perfume or cologne. Fragrance-free is gaining ground.

Enjoy your slippery slope on the way to authoritarianism.


Not a slippery slope at all. You are free to do as you please as long as it doesn't harm others.




Re: "You are free to do as you please,"

A naive assumption.

And the bar owner can refuse to grant you permission to enter or to serve you.

The law does not give you the freedom to enter wherever you choose.


No, you have a right to enter or not enter, and to be made aware of the risks undetaken by entering.

You have a right to make an informed choice, not to force people to offer what you choose.

Dr. Information

Informed lives in some magical world where owners don't have a say and unicorns and pixie dust enchant their lives.

An owner of a bar has the right to or not to serve you. Owners should have been given the choice. While I think many would have went smoke free, a few wouldn't have. Again, owners, they own the place, not u Informed.


An owner cannot refuse to serve you without a legitimate reason.


Yes they can, unless it's because of your membership in what the court calls a "suspect class" (which most of us know as a protected class) and then, the burden is upon you to prove that is their reason.


Now that YOU would know about pooh!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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

Better tell that to the guy running the gym with a boxing league, or the martial arts dojo with full contact sparring.

Better tell that to every "meet market" bar/club where people go to hook up that doesn't have the bouncer testing people for STD's at the door.

Your evaluation of harm and risk is forgetting one very important factor - consent. No one forces you to enter the boxing ring, the octagon, or the bar, and unless you're a drooling moron, you consent to enter fully cognizant of the risks to which you are VOLUNTARILY exposing yourself.


You are comparing apples to oranges. The people in the gym boxing league or martial arts are engaging themselves in a potentially harmful behavior and that is the reason they are there. A non-smoker is not.
If a club or bar is one which is their for the purpose of sex, then yes, they would be required to provide some safeguards. Since that is not the purpose of a bar (they aren't sex clubs), your argument doesn't apply.


"You are comparing apples to oranges. The people in the gym boxing league or martial arts are engaging themselves in a potentially harmful behavior and that is the reason they are there. A non-smoker is not."

Then why is the non-smoker there, because there ARE other venues that are VOLUNTARILY smoke-free. The comparison is completely valid - we have patrons of a business who choose to accept the risk of harm from other patrons because they perceive benefit they cannot get elsewhere.

"If a club or bar is one which is their for the purpose of sex, then yes, they would be required to provide some safeguards. Since that is not the purpose of a bar (they aren't sex clubs), your argument doesn't apply."

Most bars operate on a common business model where the incentive to pay $3 + tip for a beer you could have at home for $1 is immersion in a target-rich environment for hooking up. The entire reason for "ladie's night" promotions is to make improve this aspect of the situation. Customers know this premise and implicitly accept the value proposition.

And Hooters was all about family-friendly fun until a guy filed a discrimination lawsuit because they wouldn't hire him as waiter -yeah, right. There is a legal concept known as assumption of risk - when you willingly engage in a transaction that places you at risk, you assume that risk as a cost of the benefit you seek from the transaction. Without it, you wouldn't be able to afford instruction or facilitation of most recreational activities (and, lets face it, bar hopping is a recreational activity.)


Re: "A non-smoker is not."

Again, if you truly believe in freedom, you MUST allow others to exercise theirs as they see fit.

This law is an anathema to individual freedom and personal responsibility.


Before anybody pays a fine, ask where the fine is going. Ask for written proof where the fines go and how much was collected into that phantom fund. Nobody is talking.

One has a choice to go into a bar or tavern. All through the years, taverns were known to be filled with pipe, cigar and cigarette smokers. Spittoons for those who chew.

Smoking and non-smoking bars and taverns would give smokers and non-smokers a choice. Maybe good for competition too.

The other day when I was in a store, somebody "crop dusted" and I walked right into it. It was a nasty stench. I had no choice as there was no warning to me. Must have been a non-smoker who did the dirty deed.

Later in another store, I had to pee. Somebody refused to courtesy flush in one of the stalls. I had to hold my breath and get the heck out of there as fast as I could. Must have been another non-smoker.

How about some more laws in Ohio like no passing gas in a public area and fines for those who do not provide a courtesy flush in a public restroom.


Fact of the matter is good people will lose the jobs that support their families. The law was bullshit to begin with. Why not fine the people they caught smoking? Didn't Paul Hauke from Lake Wilmer make a point when he went into the Erie County Health Department and light up? Did they fine themselves?


The difference is they didn't allow it.


Customs are changing like it or not. Maybe Vietnam Vets can sue Uncle Sam because the troopers were issued smokes in their C-Rations.


Completely different concept. They were a captive audience. Last time I checked, the Selective Service wasn't frog-marching anyone into bars, nor were the MP's chasing down those who left bars.

Customs changing is fine - personally, I'd prefer that all businesses were smoke free, as long as they made the change WILLINGLY. When government tries to FORCE custom, then we have a problem.


@goodtime1212: "The Ohio public got it put on the ballet, it went to a state wide vote, the majority voted yes, it was put into law. That is what our boys fight for everyday, the freedom to vote."

No, it's not, and it's not the reason we fought the revolution, and your belief that it is is a testament to our lousy education system. It's a central misconception that the American Revolution was about, and the factor that set the USA apart from other nations was democracy. Democracy predates the American Revolution in both England and elsewhere. The goal of the Founders was not democracy, but liberty, and the ideal that set the USA apart from other nations was that of limited government. That is why our Constitution creates a set of actions that government may not undertake, REGARDLESS of the strength of voter approval.

Slavery, Jim Crow, and prayer in school all enjoyed strong voter support where they were in place. The majority voted for them to be put into law.

Consider that every year millions of people seek to immigrate to the USA, where they will not be able to vote for at least a decade, from countries where they
can currently vote.

@Justme: "Call me whatever names you want. You may THINK you know better than the majority of voters, but that does not make it so. I knew what I was voting for, and I'd vote that way again."

There's no namecalling - he simply accurately identified the philosophy under which you are operating, which is fascism - the belief that most people are incapable of making sound choices for themselves and thus these choices should be made for them by their "betters" in government, for the good of everyone.

Let's take a look at who else THOUGHT they knew better than the majority of voters. Madeline Murray O'Hare, Brown of Brown v. Board of Education, Tinker of Tinker v. Des Moines, Dred Scott, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks, for starters, all of whom acted, with and without the support of the courts, in defiance of laws supported by the majority of voters.

The fact that you understood your vote, and would cast it the same way again, is nothing of which to be proud. It's a vote for fascism, and against the principles on which this nation was founded.

If someone wants to smoke and buy drinks, and someone else meets that desire by offering them a place to do so, it's none of your (or my) business. If you don't like it, DON'T GO THERE. If someone wants to ogle naked ladies and buy drinks, and someone else meets that desire by offering them a place to do so, it's none of your (or my) business. If someone wants to buy greasy fried food, and someone else offers to sell it to them, it's none of your (or my) business.

Whenever people ignore the question of whether something is a proper role for government, and the principles that might answer that question, and instead
rest on the claim that the majority voted for it, they're providing a glaring example of the central problem of democracy - that it places decisions in the hands of those who don't grasp the concepts at stake. That, among other reasons, is why the Founders were suspicious of democracy, which one of them described as "two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner."


"The goal of the Founders was not democracy, but liberty, and the ideal that set the USA apart from other nations was that of limited government."

Excellent comment!!

You get a standing ovation:

The average voter doesn't have a clue and votes in stupid laws like this smoking ban in bars and taverns.

Can anybody tell me where all of the smoking fines go? Into somebody's pocket?


The State raised taxes on cigs to have money to treat cancer patients, right? Once the money came in from the cig manufacturs resulting from lawsuit filed by the states, most states used the money to balance their budgets.

I wonder why states have not raised taxes on beer. I drive by convient stores and see the same people carring out large containers of beer every night after they get off work. Everyone is against drunk driving, so why haven't states raised taxes on beer, wine and liquor as high as cigs? I smoke, but do not drink. Where are my rights?

Just wondering.