No excuses: Owner to pay fines

Excuses Lounge agrees to pay more than $45,000 in smoking fines
Sandusky Register Staff
Mar 2, 2014

 

There are no more excuses for the Excuses Lounge.

The neighborhood tavern at Columbus Avenue and Strub Road, faced with the loss of its liquor license, has agreed to pay about $45,000 in fines and penalties for violations of Ohio’s smoking law that stretch over several years.

Excuses owner Terry L. Smith signed the settlement agreement Dec. 31, admitting the violations and agreeing to pay back fines and obey Ohio’s no-smoking laws. Erie County’s health commissioner, Pete Schade, announced the agreement when he met with the county’s health board on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Smith agreed to pay $5,000 by Jan. 1.

He is then supposed to pay $1,158.34 on the first of the month, every month, beginning Feb. 1, with all fines due to be paid in full by Jan. 1, 2017. In the meantime, however, the balance due will grow as collection costs and interest continue to pile up.   

Erie County’s health department is supposed to get 90 percent of that to help the department pay for its enforcement costs, Schade told the board.

As of Friday, the health department had not received any money, said Joe Palmucci, the health department’s top fiscal officer.

Schade said he believes the settlement is fair, and will make Smith pay for some of the extra profit he gained by allowing smoking.

Schade contends bar owners who looked the other way while patrons lit up gave themselves a competitive advantage over bars that followed the law and did not allow smoking.

Smith did not return a telephone call to Excuses asking for comment.

The settlement reveals Smith apparently settled in order to keep his liquor license.

The attorney general’s office asked the Ohio Division of Liquor Control not to renew Excuses’ liquor license, citing 13 violations from 2007 to 2011, which allegedly showed Smith’s “disregard for the law”

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission voted on Nov. 18, 2013, to yank Excuses’ liquor license. Excuses’ attorney then asked the state health department to settle the matter.

If Smith doesn’t follow the agreement, the attorney general’s office can seek a court order and can again seek to pull the bar’s liquor permit.

Smoking violations and fines at Excuses Lounge
 
Here are the 13 violations the attorney general’s office listed for violations of the Smoke Free Act at Excuses Lounge:
•Aug. 28, 2007, letter of warning. Ashtray found at the scene.
•Nov. 8, 2007, smoking, $100 fine, paid in full. Ashtray was present.
•June 30, 2009, smoking and inadequate signs, $500 fine.
•Sept. 4, 2009, $1,000 fine, smoking and ashtray present.
•Jan. 5, 2010, smoking, $2,500 fine.
•Feb. 19, 2010, smoking, ashtray present, no signs posted, $2,500 fine.
•April 8, 2010, smoking, ashtray present, inadequate signs, $2,500 fine.
•June 7, 2010, smoking, inadequate signs, $2,500 fine.
•July 15, 2010, smoking, ashtray present, no signs posted, $2,500 fine.
•Sept. 27, 2010, smoking, ashtray present, $2,500 fine.
•Oct. 19, 2010, smoking, ashtray present, $2,500 fine.
•Dec. 28, 2010, smoking, $2,500 fine.
•June 2, 2011, smoking, ashtray present, $2,500 fine.

As of Nov. 7, 2013, Excuses Lounge owed a total of $45,541.84:
Fines, $24,000; attorney general interest, $2,017.04, collection costs, $19,524.10.
 
The total will grow as collection costs and interest continue to accrue.

Source: Settlement agreement released by Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Comments

Contango

Wonderful to see that the govt. thugs are successfully operating their shakedown racket.

"Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them."

- "Atlas Shrugged"

Informed

We voted for this. No one has the right to poison someone else.

You are nothing but an anarchist.

Licorice Schtick

Close. Not an anarchist.

oher332

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Contango

Re: "No one has the right to poison someone else."

So do you frequent this establishment?

Who's forcing you to go into bars?

"Anarchist"?

You don't even know what it means do you?

You got it from the likes of Harry Reid and other progressive-socialists. lol

"Freedom is Slavery" - "Nineteen Eight-Four"

coasterfan

I agree w/Informed. No one has the right to poison someone else.

Contango

Re: "No one has the right to poison someone else."

So while you were in this bar someone tried to poison you?

Date and time?

The Big Dog's back

Meltdown.

SamAdams

True. On the other hand, what you choose to do on your own property is (or should be) YOUR business. Don't smoke? Don't enjoy second-hand smoke, either? Go to a non-smoking bar. Don't want to work in a smoky restaurant? Get a job in a non-smoking restaurant. And as an added free market bonus, if smoking establishments didn't have customers and/or couldn't find employees, they'd either close or convert to non-smoking.

The issue isn't whether or not smoking is bad for you (including the issue of second-hand smoke). The real issue is private property rights and whether or not you have any. Certainly a case might be made that, even if you're dumping raw sewage into the river on YOUR property, it flows onto that of others thus infringing THEIR rights. But how smoking in a closed environment that you're not in has a negative health effect on you remains beyond me. What doesn't? The fact that the nanny state is busy not only telling us what is and isn't good for you, but is refusing to let you decide, based on the facts, what risks you accept. And all the while it does, it's usurping other of your rights.

looking around

The smoke free environment that most patrons enjoy was a bi product of the law that was passed to protect the employees that work in the establishment and formerly had to breath the stench that the smoking patrons maintained for the entire shift they worked.

holysee

Thank you for giving us that Randian look inside. Have you installed new bags on your tricorn yet for the upcoming protest season?
Doctor Parkinson declared 'I'm not surprised to see you here
You've got smokers cough from smoking brewer's droop from drinking beer
I don't know how you came to get the Bette Davis knees
But worst of all young man you've got teabägger Disease'

rottnrog

"Schade said he believes the settlement is fair, and will make Smith pay for some of the extra profit he gained by allowing smoking."

But I thought the state said that the smoking ban would not hurt business !!!

DickTracey

Hey, rotten, DUH!

The smoking ban has NOT hurt the businesses that obeyed the law! The idiots like this who continued to ignore the law are the only bars to suffer, and not because they lost business.

Have you tried to get in Manny's on a Friday night? There is no where to park, and you have to wait for an empty table.

Contango

Re: "The smoking ban has NOT hurt the businesses that obeyed the law!"

So the overwhelming determining factor for the oppression of freedom of expression is whether it's profitable or not?

Several states do not have smoking bans. Why was such action necessary in OH?

Obviously Ohioans are just too stupid to know what's good for them and need the State to control 'em.

JudgeMeNot

RE; Obviously Ohioans are just too stupid to know what's good for them and need the State to control 'em.

Toaster and dog are proof of that.

rottnrog

Hey Dickey... What part of this don't you understand ?? Need help???

"extra profit he gained by allowing smoking."

deertracker

Didn't the people vote on this? Why are you calling the enforcers of a law voted on by the people thugs? Shakedown? They must serve Kessler's there. Nevermind!

Contango

Re: "Didn't the people,"

Reeks of: Tyranny of the majority.

58.3% of voters approved of the use of State sanctioned oppression.

Just scr*w the other 41.7%.

The Big Dog's back

That's the Repub way right pooh? Obama won the election 52% to 47% and you still think Repubs should rule.

Contango

Re: "Obama," "Repubs" ????

“Always trying to hijack a thread for your warped mind.”

- The Big Dog's back, Mar. 2, 2014

coasterfan

Yup, that's Contango. He could be the only person on the planet with his particular point of view, and he still pontificates as if he is the majority viewpoint. It must be neat to live with such smug self-assurance that you're absolutely certain that you're always right, and everyone else is always wrong. Rolls eyes.

Contango

Re: "outlier points of view,"

To an authoritarian-totalitarian Statist such as you, classical liberalism would appear that way.

The Big Dog's back

pooh in meltdown.

Contango

Re: "meltdown"

You need to be let outside to piddle AGAIN, lil' fella?

You just wanna go out and chase the squirrels don't you? :)

Pterocarya frax...

Texas is calling. Please go...and hurry.

Contango

lol

Was there last wk. 75º Sweet!

Even the MOST ignorant, dumbed-down liberal Yankee oughta know: TX has internet.

coasterfan

The most liberal, dumbed-down liberal Yankee wouldn't stay that way long. He would be recruited by the TeaParty within 2 nanoseconds and become a card-carrying Republican.

Hmm. That must be why I don't know any dumb liberals.

coasterfan

The most liberal, dumbed-down liberal Yankee wouldn't stay that way long. He would be recruited by the TeaParty within 2 nanoseconds and become a card-carrying Republican.

Hmm. That must be why I don't know any dumb liberals.

Contango

Re: "I don't know any dumb liberals."

Yes you do; YOU posted the same nonsense TWICE.

Too rich! lol

usmc21

Looking at the dates of citations it clearly shows that this bar was being stalked. I am not a smoker but do not agree with this at all. Bars should be exempt and if you go to a bar that allows smoking and you don’t like it then stay home and drink.

rottnrog

Amen !

Informed

Nope. A bar is open to the public. If you want to drink and smoke, you stay home.

Contango

Re: "A bar is open to the public."

But to cap off the totality of the oppression:

Make no allowances for private "members only" clubs.

Love the nanny state.

looking around

What about the people that work there? This law was passed to protect the environment that they must work in. If you want to smoke while you drink....stat home!

Licorice Schtick

Painting the bar owner as the victim here is silly. He did this all by himself.

Contango

Re: "bar owner,"

So when are you opening your business?

coasterfan

USMC: If they were being stalked, there's a reason for that: they have a reputation for flaunting the law. Another possibility you should consider:

There are people like me who have the Ohio Smoking Violations hotline phone number (866.559.6446) on speed dial in their cell phone. If I'm in a restaurant/bar where they allow smoking, I call the number. Just did it Friday night in Genoa, as a matter of fact.

It's just the same as when I see a drunk driver, or someone driving wrongway on the interstate. It's not just that they're breaking the law, they are endangering the lives of other people. For some reason, Contango appears to be siding with the people who are hurting/endangering others, which of course, is a completely undefendable viewpoint...

Contango

Re: "drunk driver,"

A fallacious analogy.

JoeSchmoe84

clusterfan: What will be your reward for your obedience to your masters? Will you get special treatment, or run over the same as everyone else? I know the answer, do you?
Secondly, all private owned business should have the right to decide if they want to allow smoking or not. You state these bars are public, but they are privately owned. If an owner loses money for allowing smoking in THEIR establishment , so be it. It is the owner's choice. This law is nothing more than another way to shake down business owners. Without the law in place, it would be the owner and the patron's right to choose. Don't want to go in an establishment with smoking? Go to one that the OWNER decided not to allow it. Or do you need someone else to make all of your choices for you? ( I know the answer to that question also )

Informed

But no one has a right to poison other people.

SamAdams

Aw, GOOD little Brown Shirt! ::: pat, pat, pat :::

Stop It

lol...

Kottage Kat

Coasterfan,
How many phone calls do you have to make to earn you Mother Theresa merit badge???

Steve P

"being stalked" or ongoing violations, without any regard for the consequences.

samiam

Does that mean the health dept won't need to raise the prices of their clinics with this influx of funds?

Contango

Nope.

“You want it high enough so it doesn’t encourage overuse of the health center. If it’s free, people will just come every day”

- Randy Runyon

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

Ben Crazy

Freedom! Free to do what the Govornment tells u to do!

Steve P

Twenty -eight state now have public smoking bans including North Carolina, where R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was founded and based. The law passed by a large margin of 58% of the voters, it wasn't the government it was the people.

Contango

Re: "Twenty -eight state (sic),"

Aren't there 50 states and a few territories?

Steve P

Twenty-two states do not have a state wide smoking ban, but some of these do have limited bans as do most of the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. 28 + 22=50, clear enough for you?

The Big Dog's back

Full meltdown pooh, arguing with yourself. Sad.

Steve P

piddle aka bfruite were you inhaling again?

Contango

Re: "Twenty-two states do not have a state wide smoking ban, but some of these do have limited bans,"

Evidence of 'some' states believing in a free and open market.

If tobacco is so (bleeping) dangerous, then why isn't the FDA controlling it like a drug or why isn't its sale banned?

And yet, the bozos in CO & WA go and legalize the sale of another known carcinogen. Which is STILL against fed law. lol

Ralph J.

I thought that the fines went to the state treasury or that is what the law states. How does Schade figure the health department gets 90 percent of the fines?

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3794.08

Stop It

The proprietor should be able to say if it is a smoking establishment or not. They should have signs outside and inside stating such. IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE SMOKE. DO NOT ENTER. BTW, I don't smoke. You can't get "poisoned" if you don't walk in.

Contango

Re: "The proprietor (snip),"

Too common sensical for those that despise our Constitutional rights of personal freedom and individual responsibility.

SamAdams

Agreed. But the progressive mindset consists of two and ONLY two "absolutes:"

1. I know what's best for you! and

2. I will force you to live the way I know best, and will do so at gunpoint.

huronguy

Well at least we all found out coaster fan is a snitch. Calling hotlines on business's? Coaster fan you obviously have issues, you don't like it go somewhere else! If I don't like a businesses practice then I just don't go there. I don't nark and call OSHA, health dept, ECT ECT. Some of you really need to get a life!

Licorice Schtick

Thugs and gangbangers call someone who reports a crime a "snitch."

Ohio Smoking Violations hotline phone number 866-559-6446

Contango

Probably the kind that would turn his/her own mother in to the Stasi for the good of the State.

Again: So when are you opening your business?

Sue Meredith

The people of the State of Ohio voted this smoking ban into law. It is up to the bar owners to make sure that this law is being followed by both patrons and staff of their establishment. Mr. Smith was given 13 violations between 2009-2011. I would think that he would have taken the hint after the first violation. You do the crime you pay the fine. And just to clarify, yes I do patronize Excuses and I must say I do like the fact that I don't stink like cigarettes when I leave there now.

Contango

Re: "It is up to the bar owners to make sure that this law is being followed by both patrons and staff of their establishment."

The State placing a business owner in the position of acting as enforcement cop for other people's behavior is absurd and heavily onerous.

So what about the idea of the ban extending to private "members only" clubs; you OK with that?

Little need to wonder why small business formation is down in OH.

Licorice Schtick

Your declaration that the enforcement requirement is onerous doesn't make it so. It's pretty easy, really. And it saves on cleaning and burn damage. And it's brought non-smokers back into bars - good for business, overall. Dumps that can't get patrons any other way than to let 'em smoke is a new illegal niche market that should be snuffed out.

Insofar as many "members only" clubs are shams with $5 membership cards, yes, obviously the ban should apply to them. For REAL private clubs, it's only a slightly different question, but there few arguments for denying protection for non-smoking members that wouldn't apply anywhere else.

Ohio Smoking Violations hotline phone number 866-559-6446

rottnrog

Good for business???? LMAO

Tell that to the bar owners, 95% of them have lost business !!!

Contango

Re: "For REAL private clubs,"

You're fracturing the wrong-headed, fascist argument.

"Dumps"?

Third request: So when are you opening your business, since you appear to know all about how to operate a profitable one?

The Big Dog's back

Meltdown.

JoeSchmoe84

Sue and licorice: That's the beauty of a representative Republic, the few aren't forced to do as the majority says. A simple majority vote of the people of a state should not impose rights violations (the rights of the owners of establishments in this case), or push the "morals" of one group onto another. If that majority vote of state's citizens is so binding, why did California's citizens vote twice to outlaw gay marriage, but gay marriage is legal in California now? I could care less who marries who, and it's none of anyone's concern if a business owner allows or doesn't allow an action in his establishment that is legal. If tobacco can be legally purchased, it can be legally consumed. Now run along and tattle on someone, please.

KURTje

Geez. Display how un-wise you are here pooh. Glad you moved away.

Contango

Re: "un-wise"

lol

And you burn wood? Wassamatter kookie, don't care about global warming?

bama

Gotta love it. You can drink till your liver gives out but you can't have a cigarette because the person next to you wants to kill their liver as well but doesn't want second hand smoke. By the way, the other person I just mentioned, will get into their car afterwards and then put the general public's safety at risk.

coasterfan

What about us who don't drink and don't smoke? No one has the right to take away someone else's right to breathe clean air. Being able to breathe is the most basic right a human being can have.

Contango

Re: "What about us,"

Using your illogic:

Probably oughta outlaw the serving of alcohol in public establishments as well in order to reduce drunk driving.

Autocratic Russia has banned the serving of alcohol in all public arenas - you gotta love that!

The Big Dog's back

On 1 thread (voter ID) you right wingnuts want Gov regulations. But on this one, no. Which is it?

Darwin's choice

You have worms again?

But, true democrat logic, apples and grapefruit doggie.

nice try.

coasterfan

Zing! And the Score is: Big Dog 1, hypocritical rightwingnuts 0

Darwin's choice

Sorry, douchebag, but you're still sucking hind teat!

JoeSchmoe84

Sorry, but two different issues. Some of us have been able to develop critical thinking skills, instead of blindly following a false left right party line. Some of us are unable to differentiate, hence the wingnut comment. This thread concerns rights of private property owners, the other deals with following the laws that are in place. There are requirements set forth to exercise the right of voting (age, resident of district, voter registration). You have to show ID for everything these days, why not for voting? What's to hide there? Shouldn't we be certain that the votes cast are all legitimate? To try to compare these two issues with the simple relation of government regulation is silly. Showing your ID to vote is not added regulation, it is the verification of one's identity. I have to show ID to deposit my paycheck, and drive a car, shouldn't the casting of a vote require it also? If that's what you call a "zing" there truly is no hope for any of us. Try thinking for yourself, instead of repeating what you are told, it's very enlightening.

Darwin's choice

Coasterfan, dog, and deer can't think beyond the collective...

Contango

"On 1 thread (voter ID) you" lefty fruitcakes don't "want Gov regulations." "But on this one," yes. Which is it?"

Rosa

Just leave this small establishment alone for God's sake!!!! What a bunch of garbage. We need to enforce laws that REALLY matter. If you do not like smoke (and I am one of those persons who don't) go elsewhere!! Lawmakers should be concentrating on the heroin epidemic and more important issues....

BabyMomma

My feeling is, we voted, it passed. Pay the fines or uphold the rules in your establishment. The only way he would be above the law is if he is also a State Richard(Trooper) (Dick) Those guys make their own rules as they go.

bzbob

I remember to issues on the ballot no smoking or no smoking there was no choice to smoke

worddrow811

Where are all the smokers who are going to cough up some big bucks to help him get the fine paid? I bet the owner feels stupid now?

Nor'easter

You have all missed the issue. The employees have the right to avoid second hand smoke and live healthy lives. Being a working citizen should not require you accept a death penalty far being responsible and getting a job.

worddrow811

death from any manner is not a penalty, it's the experience that comes after life and we all have to do it.

SmokingGunn

The Smoking Ban was not passed by voters who frequent bars,it was passed by 18, 19 and 20 year olds along with elders who do not frequent bars. Had the vote been only for those who go to bars, it would not have passed, however that wasnt the case. The ban also was expanded after it was voted in to include private clubs, who also supported the ban thinking they were exempt from the ban. Had all the cards been on the table at that time, the ban would not be.
Having said that, the law is the law and until it changes, private property owners must follow rules set by majority although the majority does not have to foot the bills to pay for the private property. Kind of a lopsided law.
I wait to see how the state will fold into the casinos demands.

Prohibition... goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded" -Abraham Lincoln

looking around

You can't restrict who votes.