Ever wonder why some restaurants open a full bar on day one while others languish on for months and months as a dry or BYOB restaurant, even after getting community approval? This could be part of the reason:
"The Inspector General raided the Harlem office of the NY State Liquor Authority this morning in an investigation into possible corruption and bribe receiving by state employees for liquor licenses....'We believe employees are fast-tracking liquor licenses in exchange for gratuities, at the expense of legitimate applicants....' said First Deputy Inspector General Kelly Donovan...The IO has been reviewing this operation for more than a year."This one allegedly corrupt office handles liquor licenses for all of the five boroughs, and according to this report, regulates 65% of all permits statewide. Now those BYOB places know they just needed to grease the wheels a little to score that vital permit.
Update: An expert checks in with us with a little background. He says this is going to be an extremely big deal. Indictments will be handed down, liquor license attornies may go to jail, state employees may go to jail. But in the end, restaurants will encounter a much more level playing field when getting a license.
He predicts the complaints started rolling in because there is a massive backlog right now at the SLA. And when most restaurants have to wait, the ones that get theirs quickly (by going to people who call themselves "expediters") look more suspicious. Apparently the SLA is hiring more employees to deal with the backlog.
· State Liquor Authority in Harlem Raided; Bribery Suspected [CBS]