The Safety Services and Licenses Committee voted to enforce a $500 fine and 90-day review for Em’s liquor, located at 1285 Park Ave., which has been caught selling alcohol to minors three times in the past year.
“Em’s Liquor Store, back in February, had a new employee on working that shift,” said Lawrence Almagno, the legal counsel for Em’s. “He has been since fired. With respect to the remedies that they’ve made; they’ve passed out the new manual that was constructed by myself that all employees have to sign, they’ve received training on a new age verification software for all their licenses, passports or any other forms of state ID. That’s going to be implemented.”
Almagno said that new signs and policies have been put in place that all customers, regardless of age, will have to produce identification in order to purchase alcohol. He also said that the establishment has now made sure all current employees, and anyone hired in the future, have been TIPS certified in alcohol safety training.
“Going forward it’s not even going to be a human decision,” Almagno explained. “You can’t open the register, which I’ve confirmed with the point of sale’s software people, until an ID is rung. So somebody comes in looking to buy any alcoholic beverages you cannot physically make the sale until an ID is rung.”
Em’s Liquor Store experienced three compliance checks by Cranston police on various dates, according to John Verdecchia, the solicitor for the committee. The first was in March of 2022, the second in July of the same year and the most recent was February of this year. On all three occasions the police conducted an undercover sting, and on all three occasions the underage person sent in by police was able to purchase alcohol.
Verdecchia said that for the next year the store will be on probation and that if there are any other violations a fine of $500 will be applied automatically without need for a vote.
“It sounds like you’re taking the necessary steps to resolve the issue,” said Councilman John P. Donegan. “I would just, you know, the location is almost right around the corner from a school. So, do better going forward. Please.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of Solicitor Verdecchia, which was to allow the store to continue operating under probation with the $500 fine held in abeyance while compliance with state law is checked again in 90 days, as long as the store continues to make changes in order to stop this problem from happening again.
“The liquor store owners are taking this seriously,” Verdecchia said. “They’ve hired counsel. They have submitted documentation in support of what they have alleged here tonight, in terms of what they’re going to do and in terms of remedial steps.”
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