Published in the May 23, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Caryn’s Restaurant and Sports Bar will have its liquor license suspended for three days after the Board of Selectmen determined at a hearing last night that on two separate occasions patrons were overserved alcohol at the 397 Main St. establishment.

The board voted to impose the suspension on Wednesday, May 31, Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2. Police Chief Rick Smith was unhappy that the board elected not to impose the suspension on a weekend, which was when the violations that led to the suspension occurred.

Chief Smith reviewed the two incidents for the board.

The first one occurred on the evening of Friday, April 28. One of his officers spotted two men sitting in a doorway at 385 Main St., a few doors down from Caryn’s, drinking from Heineken beer bottles. According to the police report, they were yelling as passersby.

Reviewing the report from his officers, Smith said that while speaking to the men, officers noted that they appeared to be drunk and were unsteady on their feet and their speech was slurred. Both said that they had come from Caryn’s and the beers that they were drinking came from Caryn’s.

Smith said that the men were arrested for violating the town’s open container ordinance and during booking at the Police Station one of the men became belligerent with police.

“There was a wrestling match in the booking room,” Smith said. “Things tend to get ugly quickly.”

The second incident occurred the following night, but was technically on Sunday, April 30 at 1:26 a.m. Police were called to Caryn’s on a report of a fight between two women. It was subsequently determined that no fight occurred but officers found two heavily intoxicated women in front of Caryn’s. The police report indicated that they were so intoxicated that at one point they fell onto a Jeep that was parked on Main Street.

An employee of Caryn’s came out, according to the report, and told police that the two women had been drinking in Caryn’s. Another man in the company of the women was determined by police to be sober and he drove the women home.

The Chief alluded to other incidents and members of the board asked him to elaborate.

Smith cited an incident in March where a town official had seen a patron standing outside the bar drinking a Bud Lite. An incident of alleged overserving also occurred last fall, but the board determined at that time that they could not prove that the man in question had been served at Caryn’s while intoxicated. The man was later arrested for DUI. In that case, the man was uncooperative and attempted to fight with officers trying to book him.

“It puts us at huge liability,” Smith said. “My responsibility is to protect my officers as well as the public. They should never have been served when they are that intoxicated.”

Caryn’s owner Leanne Wheeler was represented by attorney Brian McGrail. He stressed that whatever the outcome of the hearing, his client was “100 percent committed to working with your board and with the Police Department.”

McGrail maintained that it was difficult to prove that a person was intoxicated when served in the restaurant. He said that the April 28 incident involved “hearsay allegations” from unnamed witnesses.

Wheeler said that since the April 28 incident she has had a doorman on weekends to prevent anyone from leaving the premises with alcohol.

In the April 30 incident, McGrail said that the women had not been fighting and had fallen into the Jeep because they were “horsing around.”

He produced a sworn affidavit from a waiter working at Caryn’s that night who said that the two women had been in Caryn’s numerous times. The waiter further claimed in the affidavit that he had conversed with the women in the bar on the night in questions and they were not intoxicated.

Selectman Tony Longo addressed Wheeler.

“I haven’t seen anyone here but you for violations,” he said. “I want you to be successful but this has got to stop.”

Selectman Edward Dombroski said that he was satisfied that the burden of proof had been met that both alleged violations had occurred. He cited the observations of police officers trained to recognize intoxication – odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, slurred speech and unsteadiness while standing. He noted that there was no dispute that all of the individuals had been drinking in Caryn’s.

“We can’t have this stuff going on,” Dombroski said.

In two separate 5-0 votes, the board made findings that on April 28 and April 30, intoxicated individuals were served alcohol at Caryn’s.

Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio outlined the possible penalties. For the first offense the sanction could range from a warning to a two-day liquor license suspension. For the second offense, the board could suspend the liquor license for three to seven days.

Chief Smith reminded the board that Maio had sent Caryn’s a letter as recently as March 27, 2017 warning the owner about another incident where a bar patron had been seen consuming a beer on the sidewalk in front of Caryn’s.

Santos made a motion that the board issue a warning for the April 28 (first) offense and a three-day liquor license suspension for the second offense on April 30. The board voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

There was some discussion as to when the suspension should be imposed. Maio suggested Thursday, June 1, Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3. McGrail protested that those were Caryn’s busiest nights of the week.

Longo then made a motion to suspend the license on Wednesday, May 31, Thursday, June 1 and Friday, June 2.

Chief Smith asked why the board did not want to impose the suspension on the weekend, which was when the violations occurred.

“I’m not real happy that we’re doing  the days that we’re doing,” he said. He further asked that the suspension include a condition that there must be a doorman on duty Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and the Chief requested a written document to that effect. The board agreed.

The board voted 5-0 to suspend Caryn’s liquor license on Wednesday, May 31, Thursday, June 1 and Friday June 2 and to make it a condition or the license that a doorman must be on duty on all Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights henceforth.

Maio reminded McGrail and Wheeler that for the three-day period of the suspension the liquor license must be turned in to his office at Town Hall.

Vice chairman Peter May chaired the hearing as board chairman Paul DiNocco recused himself. Santos asked DiNocco about his reason for recusing himself. DiNocco replied that he had been told that he did not have to state a reason.