The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) reports they they have suspended the license of Father Son Rochester Inc., doing business as “Father Son Wine & Spirits” and Joeys Mini Mart Inc, doing business as “Joey’s Mini Mart”, both located in the same building at 1735 Scottsville Road in Rochester today.
The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley on Thursday, December 21st is effective immediately and no alcohol may be sold at the premises.
On September 15, 2017, an SLA underage agent attempting to purchase alcohol at Father Son Wine & Spirits was denied after presenting the clerk with his actual New York State Driver’s License. At the time of the attempted sale, the accompanying SLA Investigator inside the liquor store observed that he was the only person in the premises who appeared to be of age.
Moments later while observing from the parking lot, the investigator observed several customers appearing to be underage entering the liquor store, and the adjacent convenience store, exiting with bottles of spirits or beer.
On October 31st, an SLA investigator spoke with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (R.I.T.) Public Safety Manager regarding underage sales at the two businesses, and learned that students were showing their college IDs, IDs that do not include a date of birth, to purchase alcohol at these locations.
Based on this information, SLA investigators interviewed five underage R.I.T. students who provided voluntary written statements admitting they have previously purchased alcohol at Father Son Wine & Spirits or Joey’s Mini Mart.
The students interviewed maintained that it was common knowledge on campus that both stores would make the illegal sales if the students furnished their R.I.T. College Student ID cards when asked for identification. The investigators also learned that store clerks would deny sales if anyone who appeared not to be a college student was present in the store, supposedly in order to avoid detection.
Subsequently on December 15th, SLA investigators conducted a second undercover sting operation at the two licensed locations. The underage agent entered Father Son Wine & Spirits while the investigators remained in the car, and was able to purchase a one liter bottle of vodka. The cashier did not ask the underage agent for his identification.
During this visit, the investigators also observed two customers appearing to be underage exiting the liquor store with a box of liquor, and obtained voluntary statements from each admitting that they were under twenty-one and had purchased alcohol from Father Son Wine & Spirits.
Both minors also indicated that they have purchased alcohol at the liquor store several times in the past using their R.I.T. College Student ID cards.
On December 20th, the SLA charged Father Son Wine & Spirits with six counts of sales to minors and Joey’s Mini Mart with three counts of sales to minors, all occurring in the last three months.
Additionally, the licensee of Joey’s Mini Mart is the son of the licensee of Father Son Wine & Spirits, indicating the stores intentionally engaged in a deliberate scheme to deceive police and SLA Investigators.
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension.
The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.