ABRA Troubles at Sticky Rice (UPDATED)
late Sunday afternoon tweet from Barred in DC. The tweet alleged that the establishment faces a 15 day suspension of its liquor license and a four thousand dollar fine stemming from the wrongful ejection of two ABRA personnel on New Year's Eve. I made some phone calls, and did some digging. I have verified (I found the ABRA order) that ABRA is indeed imposing the punishments, and they do stem from such an incident.
Sticky Rice (1224 H Street) will serve 15 days of a 25 day suspension of its ABRA license. The punishment will run from November 13th-November 27th. The remaining ten days of the suspension shall be stayed, and shall not be imposed unless Sticky Rice has another ABRA violation before October 16th 2014. They will also have to pay a $4,000 fine.
Bad news for Sticky Rice & its employees. That's a lot of workers who are going to lose out on tips for two weeks. I spoke to a representative from Sticky Rice (and left a message for one of the owners). I hope to hear back soon. I will update this post with any response from them once that happens.
Barred in DC has a new post up discussing the ABRA report (link to the full report is above).
While I have not heard back from Sticky Rice, I did want to highlight this statement (left in the comments) of support for Mr. Martin from Mark Thorp (owner of local taverns Little Miss Whiskey's & Jimmy Valentine's):
The testimony given by the ABRA investigators does not appear truthful. Jason Martin has over 7 years of intense, hands-on experience with 3 ABRA-licensed businesses, and a "routine compliance check" (in which the investigators simply verify that all relevant business licenses are up to date and that the business is operating accordingly) would not provoke this alleged behavior from him.
Mr. Martin states that one of the investigators did not have ABRA identification, and the other investigator produced an ID that did not belong to him (and which Mr. Martin states belonged to the ABRA supervisor that arrived after the incident). After being shown a "fake" ID, Mr Martin had the investigators evicted by security personnel, which action is completely reasonable and within the boundaries of the law.
The investigators testified that they had proper ID when Mr. Martin first asked for them. If this was true, why would Mr. Martin refuse to show his relevant business licenses? The licenses were clearly in order because there are no ABRA charges to the contrary, so Mr. Martin was not at risk. 8 months after the incident, why would Mr. Martin further jeopardize his business- much less waste considerable time and money on attorney fees- by fighting these charges? The penalty initially offered is always significantly less than the punishment faced by the business if it loses its fight against the charges.
I am a fellow business owner on H Street as well as a former employee of Jason Martin, and I have been witness many times to Mr. Martin's careful, calm, and considered management of difficult and sometimes confrontational situations. I do not share any financial interests with him, nor do I stand to receive any personal gain by asserting my belief that Jason Martin acted properly and responsibly, and that the ABRA investigators are not telling the truth.
*The hearing transcript is erroneously dated July 24, 2012. It should read July 24, 2013.