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.



This bar has no one to blame except the VOTERS.


I agree... years ago when this so call law went into effect.. They should have revamped the law by stating that the Bar owners had a choice. Either have a non- smoking business and post it as such, or one that allows smoking. A lot of t hem now have outside patios in which folks can go out and smoke. But alot places don't have the room.

Licorice Schtick

Sort of surprising it took this long; this story originally ran back in September of 2011.

The smoking ban is the best thing that ever happened to nice places. People who had been staying home are back in droves. It's the dives, that can't or won't clean up their dumps, that desperately try to get more business by allowing smoking.


Excuses, excuses...


Excuses, excuses... Of course they will institute a temporary BYO policy as they are yards from a liquor store and charge an entrance fee


Smart business move!


This bar has no one to blame except itself. When you have a business, you have laws to follow just like everyone else. A bar owner and their employees only have to say "sorry, there is no smoking in here". If a patron decides not to follow that, then they should be asked to leave. It's that simple. And if you decide you don't want to do that, pay the fine.


Everyone knows that these bars openly violate the law. Its simple obey the law and as Barretta said " don't do the crime if you can't do the time"


Reeks of fascism:

The industries that the State doesn't own outright, it controls through political and economic cronyism as well as onerous rules and regulations.

Pretty simple: If you don’t wanna inhale second hand smoke don’t go into the bar.

America’s traditions of personal freedom and individual responsibility are being replaced by the collectivist nanny state.

Why in the h*ll did our Founders fight a war against an oppressive & overbearing regime?

Little wonder that the State of OH continues to lose population and therefore national political clout.


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. It can never make everyone happy, but the people voted.


Re: "people voted."

True, voters have the freedom to be as stupid as they want.

The sheeple often vote for a lot of good-intentioned, wrong-headed legislation - this is but one example.

Nothing like having someone risking their own money in an enterprise and then having others tell 'em how to run it.

There are always unintended consequences like creating fewer entrepreneurs and business owners.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

- H. L. Mencken


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.

Licorice Schtick

I think not being able to go into a place of public accommodation without endangering your health and coming out reeking of smoke is oppressive.

Contango doesn't understand relative rights. He attacks people with whom he disagrees with name-calling and most often calls stuff he doesn't like communism. This time it's fascism. (Ducking for cover.)


Re: "relative rights."

They don't necessarily apply in this case.

However, I understand inalienable rights that only a govt. can restrict and/or deny, while prohibiting the exercise thereof.

Communism, fascism, whatever you wanna call it, they all flow from Marxist authoritarian philosophy. If the shoe fits - wear it.

As is said, democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.

This is tyranny of the majority, which is an anathema to American ideals.

Who makes the majority of money from the sale of cigs? The State.

It smacks of hypocrisy.


How can it be tyranny of the majority when the majority voted for it? If the government instituted this law without a vote, you'd be correct. As it it, this is democracy. The people decided, and if it were up for a vote again, I bet it would win by an even greater margin.


Re: "tyranny of the majority"

Most Germans were OK with the repression of the Jews in Nazi Germany too.

Never say: It can't happen here.


But did they put it on the ballot and vote for it?


Re: "did they put it on the ballot and vote for it,"

The German people popularly elected the Nazis who advocated it.


Actually, yes, in a landslide that made Nixon's victory in 1972 look like a photo finish. Hitler had the biggest electoral mandate of any leader in the 20th century.

That democracy fetish isn't so much fun anymore, eh?


"How can it be tyranny of the majority when the majority voted for it?"

That's exactly why it is - tyranny of the majority over the minority. The majority tyrannizes the minority. How can anyone get through a high school Government class without knowing that term?


Licorice, WHY is it oppressive for someone not to create YOUR favored conditions on THEIR property? I can't stand the resulting ringing in the ears that result from the loud music in many bars, but it's THEIR property and if I don't like the volume, no one is forcing me in there at gunpoint. I don't like spectator sports, but if I go in to a bar, it's THEIR TV set, and their right to set it the way they believe will attract the most paying customers.

Exactly what are "relative rights" and where can I find them in the Constitution?


Justme thinks this is a democracy and it is not, its a Republic. Its obvious that he/she doesn't know the differences since he thinks because the majority votes to take peoples rights to run their business away that its constitutional.

Secondly, it IS fascism. Fascists tell businesses what they must and must not do in areas that are none of their business. Just because YOU voted for something doesn't make it right, any more than if you voted to legalize abortion doesn't make it a 'choice' instead of murder. \

Personally, I think your gutsy in voting this way, who and what gives you the right to tell any business what to do. If you don't like the smoke then don't go there, period. Certainly if your mature enough to know what you voted for you can act like a grown up and avoid crying to the state to force business to run their place YOUR WAY. What a baby.

Oh, I'm a non smoker and non drinker and but I believe in freedom, not being a fascist.


I know you are but what am I? ;>)


The shoe fits, Justme, your lack of awareness notwithstanding.


Unfortunately, the way laws are voted into law is depressing. They are back loaded with all kinds of other issues with the focus on the main point. I do not smoke but believe in the bar owner's rights as well. Now, this situation was handled very poorly. But, a bar is not a place people have to go to such as the Mall, city buildings, restaurants, etc. They should be allowed to make their decision and have it posted as such. Non-smokers could choose not to go there then. The voted in legislation did not separate. It was all or nothing as usual.


sounds like your a patron of this place and also a smoker


And THAT is a classic illustration of the problem here. I fully support this business owner, I'm a non-smoker, and I've never been there.

But then, since you're willing to completely jettison this nation's founding principles of limited government and individual liberty in order to force your preferences upon others, it's no surprise that you can't wrap your head around the idea that someone might not base their position on whose ox is being gored.

Good 2 B Me

This is no different than having friends over and asking them to smoke outside. The patrons are at fault too for jumping on the bandwagon. Why are they not offering to pay up and help save what they helped ruin?

Excuses refused to honor the law, they have to pay the price.

my oh my

The Pump Lounge will slide by like it has already due to fact so many local law enforcement members patronize that establishment....


Last time I checked it wasn't the County that handed out liquor permits...