The Smiling Skull Saloon is allowed to sell alcohol starting Wednesday after receiving a stay of revocation Tuesday from Athens County Court of Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy.
Smiling Skull’s co-owner, Adrienne Whitney, said the stay allows the bar to operate — sell alcohol — until a pending case against the Ohio Department of Liquor Control is resolved. That means DJ Barticus can play Wednesday and there is a whole bunch of activities scheduled ahead this week at “The Skull” — more on that in a minute.
Back to the news — the popular West Union Street bar has been facing difficulties since September because Liquor Control fined the bar $10,000. Online version of this story includes a link to a previous story that talks about what got the Skull in trouble.
The bar has paid that $10,000 — money to be held by the Athens Common Pleas Clerk of Court’s office until the case is resolved.
Flashback — The Skull had to pay the fine by Sept. 28. When Liquor Control didn’t receive payment, the bar’s liquor license was revoked Oct. 5.
Whitney said they sent a certified check for $10,000 by next-day mail on Sept. 22 to Liquor Control.
Adrienne said the check didn’t arrive until Oct. 3.
Whitney said Liquor Control Commission does not operate by post date, only check in hand.
The Smiling Skull and Liquor Control had a duel Nov. 9 in Athens County Court of Common Pleas — this writer loves using Smiling Skull and Liquor Control in the same sentence.
McCarthy’s common sense strongly worded order issued Tuesday (Nov. 14) suggests that the government can’t blame the mail, particularly since the government runs the mail. A PDF of that order is included with the online version of this story.
McCarthy’s order ruled that Liquor Control has a duty to process its mail in a timely manner.
“As the U.S. Postal Service is a governmental institution and the Commission is a governmental agency, the Court finds the Appellant’s payment was constructively received by the Commission the day it was received by the U.S. Postal Service,” McCarthy’s order said. “The Court is interested in knowing how does due process for the Appellant work when the Appellant cannot possibly know when the Commission is going to retrieve its mail that has not been delivered? How is the public is possibly supposed to anticipate when the Commission actually decides to pick up its mail is incalculable.
It is also incalculable how long it takes to reach the Columbus Post Office, the Commission’s employees’ desk, what pile it is placed in and when it might be opened and then stamped ‘received.’ What if the person is sick that day? What if the building is shut down for the day? What if the postal truck breaks down? What if the fire alarm is pulled unlawfully? What if there are other extenuating circumstances? Under the Commission’s position, the answer would essentially be that any such time is counted against Appellant’s deadline and the Appellant is ‘out of luck.’
“The Court finds the average citizen has no way whatsoever to understand the sorting process of the government for mail to reach its final destination under circumstances such as these.”
McCarthy’s order said if the Smiling Skull’s liquor license revocation was not stayed, it would force the business to close permanently, thus causing irrevocable harm to the business including employees.
In issuing the Order of Revocation, the Court found:
- The Appellant has shown a strong or substantial likelihood or probability of success on the merits;
- That Appellant has shown it has suffered irreparable harm due to the loss of revenue on heavily attended dates and will continue to suffer irrevocable harm;
- That the issuance of a stay will not cause or threaten harm to public health, safety or welfare;
- The public interests in not permanently closing the business would be served by granting a stay; and That a stay of revocation of the liquor permit is appropriate at this juncture.
- Additionally, the Court finds Appellant’s motion for a stay of revocation of Appellant’s permit to be well taken and stays the Commission forfeiture of Appellant’s liquor permit until further order of the Court. Appellant was ordered to pay $10,000 into the Athens Common Pleas Clerk of Court’s office to be held until the disposition of the case.
Whitney and her brother Locke Wolf co-own the bar that has been in the family since the early 1990s. Dubbed the “The Skull” by locals, the bar was founded in 1993 by Locke and Adrienne’s dad Chris Wolf, who passed away in 2017.
Source: The Athens News