The State Liquor Authority has initiated proceedings that could strip Madison Square Garden of its liquor license, reports The NY Post.
According to the NY Times, the news comes after head of the company James Dolan made headlines for reportedly using facial recognition technology to identify and ban attorneys working for firms that are suing him or the Garden.
This caused the State Liquor Authority to assign Mr. Stravalle, a NYS Liquor Authority investigator and retired police captain, to investigate whether the ban broke New York State’s beverage laws which require establishments to admit the general public, says the NY Times.
Four violations were reportedly received via certified mail last month on February 21, demanding Dolan’s properties provided a formal plea by this past Wednesday, March 15.
Dolan instead filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court asking a judge to put an end to the SLA violations, which he believed was “an abuse of power,” says the Post.
“This gangster-like governmental organization has finally run up against an entity that won’t cower in the face of their outrageous abuses. While others that have been subject to this harassment may have been forced into submission or silence, we are taking a stand on behalf of our fans and the many small businesses who have long been subject to the SLA’s corruption,” Dolan told the Post.
Dolan went on to state to the Post that the SLA’s “improper actions” are not only an assault on MSG but also all of its fans who will be “deprived of the full MSG experience.”
And he’s apparently not wrong.
Fans told the Post they’d think twice about heading to a dry Garden.
The SLA is trying to decided whether or not Dolan’s use of facial recognition at MSG violates state rules, nothing that banning certain people from the venue considers it no longer open to the public. They’re arguing that having a liquor license requires the venue to be open to the public at large, says the Post.
Dolan, on the other hand, finds this to be “irrational.”
“Many bars and nightclubs regularly exclude patrons who do not meet certain dress codes, display a certain ‘vibe’ or ‘energy,’ act in a certain manner, arrive in a large group of a certain gender, or even have certain skin colors,” Dolan argued.
Moreover, MSG isn’t the only iconic NYC venue at risk. Dolan also owns Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater. Meaning, if the SLA is successful, Rangers and Knicks games, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, concerts, and shows will now have to be enjoyed sans cocktail.
The next step is for the charges to go to a hearing where the authority’s board can determine the proper disciplinary actions. Possible outcomes include fines, cancellation, suspension, or revocation of liquor licenses, says the NY Times.