State cites 11 businesses for liquor law violations
SPRINGFIELD — Eleven area businesses face discipline from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission for violations of state liquor control laws.
Among those cited are six Champaign County businesses that were checked for underage violations on Feb. 28, the day before the "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" event in Champaign-Urbana.
The six: Star Karaoke & BBQ in Savoy, Mid America Market in Mahomet, BP Gas & Convenience in Mahomet, Freedom Oil at 501 S. Vine St. in Urbana, the Walgreen's at 302 University Ave., U, and Noodles & Company in Campustown.
All are accused of selling to minors, as part of underage compliance checks conducted by state police, the liquor control commission, and the Urbana and Champaign police departments.
Only those six of 81 licensees checked on Feb. 28 sold liquor to underage buyers, according to Sue Hofer, a spokeswoman for the liquor control commission. She said that was an improvement from last year when nine of 58 businesses checked on the Unofficial weekend sold liquor to underage customers.
Meanwhile, a Champaign restaurant has lost its liquor license for failure to pay state sales taxes and withholding taxes.
Let's Take a Seat, 2506 Village Green Place, C, had its liquor license revoked on Feb. 28, said Hofer.
"They had a hearing on Feb. 28, because our goal is never to shut down a business. Our goal is to keep them working so that they keep collecting and paying sales tax," Hofer said. "But they didn't show up for the hearing so we had no choice but to revoke their license."
The revocation does not affect the restaurant's ability to do business, Hofer said, and in fact it was open Thursday.
The liquor control commission also has cited Los Potros in Tuscola, the Last Chance Saloon in Tolono, and the Monticello Bowl, El Toro and County Market, all in Monticello, for selling liquor to underage participants in law enforcement operations last month.
In all 11 cases in Champaign, Piatt and Douglas counties, Hofer said, the resolution of the cases will be the same.
"They have a choice. If this is their first offense, they have the opportunity to reach an agreement with the department, pay a fine and promise not to do this again. The fine is up to the commissioners," she said. "If this is not their first offense, they are required to come before the commission and explain why they keep serving kids alcohol. The commission has the option to suspend the licenses for a period, and if there are multiple violations, then the commission could revoke a license."
She said she believed "most" of the area businesses cited in February were first offenders.