315 Exchange bust could yield suspension

Published 9:57 am Monday, March 5, 2012

The owner of a Troy bar could be faced with a suspension or revocation of license, or a hefty fine, according to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Bobby Robinson was issued a citation Friday morning and will have a chance to contest it at a hearing in Montgomery that could happen within 45 days, said ABC Board Lt. Thomas Price.

Price said his recommendation is a 365-day license suspension, or revocation of license, as punishment after ABC agents and Troy Police found 35 underage drinkers, including a 17-year-old, at Robinson’s 315 Exchange on Three Notch Street in Troy on Feb. 23.

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“That is just our recommendation,” Price said. “He will get to contest that at a hearing and the committee may decide otherwise.”

If he chooses to, Robinson can appeal the decision made at the hearing and go before the ABC Board again. After that, he’ll have one more appeal he can make in circuit court with a civil trial, Price explained.

Another option the board has available is to fine Robinson. Price said the ABC Board could issue a $750 fine for each underage drinker who was arrested at the bar. That would be a $26,250 blow.

But Price said he was recommending the suspension because fines don’t seem to be working in the Troy area and the ABC Board must find a way to keep minors safe.

“We are going to show that this is not being tolerated,” Price said. “We’ve got to protect the kids. Not only do you have Pike County there, but students from everywhere, international students at the university.”

Two bartenders who were working the night of the arrests were also formally charged Friday morning with consuming while serving. Price said that is a misdemeanor charge.

Price said he hopes the student arrests and the ABC Board taking the matter seriously will send a message to bar owners and underage drinkers alike.

“We are getting close to Spring Break,” Price said. “We don’t want any fatalities coming from something we govern.”

Robinson declined to comment.