July 16, 2007

Several local businesses fined after failing Wright County checks

First round of alcohol compliance checks for 2007 is done by Wright County

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Wright County recently completed its first round of alcohol compliance checks, leaving several liquor establishments paying heavy fines.

Sixteen of the 107 establishments checked for alcohol failed to check IDs either at all or correctly, according to Jill Hylla of Wright County Public Health.

Some businesses that failed were in the Cokato area, Delano, and Montrose.

Cities like Howard Lake and Annandale are not involved with county compliance checks because they have their own police departments, according to Hylla.

The following businesses failed alcohol compliance checks in the area: Nelson’s Bar and Grill of Cokato, Cokato Town and Country Club in Cokato Township (located just outside city limits); as well as one Montrose business, Red’s Cafe, and several Delano businesses, Chun Mee Restaurant, Delano A’s, Delano Wine and Spirits, El Cazador Mexican Restaurant, and Juke Box Restaurant.

Fines are set by each city unless the establishment is located in a township. If so, the business receives a fine from the county, according to Hylla.

The county fine is set at $200 for first-time violators, $500 for second-time violators within two years, and $1,000 and one week suspension of license for third violation in two years, according to Hylla.

The Cokato Town and Country Club received a $200 fine from the county since it is located in Cokato Township, just outside city limits.

The fine for Nelson’s Bar and Grill is yet to be determined, since the City of Cokato is still working on a fine schedule.

Red’s Cafe in Montrose received a $200 fine.

In Delano, Chun Mee received a $750 fine, Delano A’s received a $1,500 fine plus three days license suspension for its second violation in two years along with El Cazador Mexican Restaurant in Delano, Delano Wine and Spirts and the Juke Box Restaurant received a $250 fine.

Under Minnesota statute, cities can fine up to $2,000 for each violation, up to a 60-day license suspension, and/or revocation, depending on the city’s ordinance, according to Hylla.

For example, the City of Hanover charges a $100 fine, which is the lowest in the county. Otsego, on the other hand, charges $2,000 for first-time offenders.

The City of Delano has its own system set in place for such fines. The city’s program “Best Practices” also called “RU 21,” gives liquor establishments that participate a more lenient fine than nonparticipants.

The first violation for participants of the Delano program is $250, whereas nonparticipants would pay $750 for the first violation.

Since alcohol compliance checks aren’t government mandated, Meeker County doesn’t participate, according Meeker County Sheriff Mike Hirman.

McLeod County does participate in alcohol compliance checks but no report has been given as of press time.

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