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Liquor Commission fines Waikiki Shell’s vendor

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The Honolulu Liquor Commission fined the Waikiki Shell’s vendor today $19,500 for 20 liquor violations last year.

Centerplate pleaded no contest last night to 14 counts of allowing people to possess or share illegal drugs on its premises, five counts of allowing minors to drink alcohol in the venue, and one filing violation. The drug and liquor violations happened during the Kokua Festival and the Mayjah Rayjah last April, the Jammin’ Hawaiians May Day Mele!, and the KCCN FM100 Birthday Bash in July. 

Prosecuting attorney Mia Obciana said the vendor had no similar violations since the vendor hired outside security last year.

The commission voted unanimously to suspend half of the fines — $9,750 — so long as the vendor doesn’t have similar violations in a year. 

Because of a plea agreement, Centerplate expected the commission to suspend $17,000 of the fines. Attorney Don Pacarro, representing the concessionaire, told the commission that his client plans to file a motion to reconsider the fines.

Centerplate, the vendor for Waikiki Shell, Aloha Stadium, and the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, is also the focus of a bill moving through the Legislature to dismiss the violation of a minor drinking on the premises as long as the large venue licensee has a security plan to prevent underage drinking that has been approved by the county liquor commission. 

The Honolulu Liquor Commission initially opposed the bill, saying it would require the commission, by approving the security plan, to be complicit in minors breaking the law and force the commission to share the burden of oversight that is supposed to be the sole responsibility of the licensee.

Lawmakers, however, recently amended the bill to define large venues as those having a capacity of at least 50,000, which only applies to Aloha Stadium. 

Commission Administrator Greg Nishioka said the concern was the bill would have applied to such establishments as Waikiki Shell. He said the changes have curbed the bill’s impact. Aloha Stadium, he said, doesn’t have many drinking or drug problems.

Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Waimalu) said he introduced HB1221 because Centerplate expressed concerns that it was doing everything possible to enforce the laws in a venue as vast as the Shell and was still being cited for criminal behavior on its premises.

"Whether it’s underage drinking by an adult that gives a kid a beer or someone in the restrooms at the edge of the Shell smoking a joint, they are, according to the current rules, liable for everything," he said. "I think that’s too broad a stroke."


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