Mayor Sandra Bury has issued an agenda for her liquor advisory board, scheduled for today, that includes discussion of an underage drinking incident that occurred almost two months ago at a bar with political connections to her campaign.
At the January 24th Liquor Advisory Board Meeting, a January 5th incident at Reilly’s Daughter was discussed. At that time, the board delayed recommending any action because the tickets for selling alcohol to underage patrons had not yet been adjudicated.
A police response to a fight outside of Reilly’s Daughter on Friday January 5th has resulted in legal trouble for the politically connected bar and its owner.
The bar’s owner, Brendan O’Brien, was issued a village ordinance violation ticket for the sale of alcohol to a minor after the police questioned a man who was involved in a fight at the bar. The victim in the fight, Matthew Sechman, had blood on his shirt, face and hands. He allegedly told the police officer that he had “words” with an unknown offender as he and his friend, John Nick, were leaving the bar at about 1:30 a.m.
According to the two 18 year old men, an unknown offender struck Sechman in the face with a closed fist and then fled before the police arrived. Nick supported Sechman’s story and said that they both were in the bar and were served alcohol.
When the police noted that Sechman and Nick were under 21 and shouldn’t have been allowed to drink in the bar, they asked whether the two were asked for identification upon entering the bar or when being served. The two men told police that they were never asked for identification and a personal search of the men by the police officers did not find any fake identification cards.
O’Brien told the police he had an employee at the door checking identification. At the January 24th meeting, Mayor Sandra Bury repeated that claim noting that the times she had been at the establishment, there is always someone at the door checking IDs. Creating a bigger conflict by commenting on the pending case, advisory board member, Larry Daly went further casting doubt on the story of the underage drinkers by asking if the village was taking the kids’ word that in fact happened in Reilly’s Daughter since the fight happened in the parking lot.
Specifically, Illinois law and the liquor control code in Oak Lawn Prohibits the Sale of alcohol. The provision states
No liquor licensee nor any officer, associate, member, representative, agent or employee of such licensee shall sell, give or deliver alcoholic liquor to any person under the age of twenty one (21) years.
For the purpose of preventing the violation of this subsection, any such licensee, or his agent or employee, may refuse to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to any person who is unable to produce adequate written evidence of identity and of the fact that he or she is over the age of twenty one (21) years. In this case, the police failed to find any fake identification on either man.
Reilly’s Daughter could face suspension or revocation of its liquor license, by the Oak Lawn Liquor Commissioner, Mayor Sandra Bury.
As the local liquor commissioner, Mayor Bury has the power to suspend for not more than thirty (30) days or revoke any liquor license issued under the provisions of the village’s ordinance for cause, or if he/she determines that the licensee shall have violated any of the provisions of the code, any of the statutes of the state or any other valid ordinance or resolution enacted by the president and board of trustees of the village after a hearing is held.
In addition, the Mayor, after a hearing, can fine the licensee in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for each violation of this chapter.
Reilly’s Daughter Inc. is a political contributor to Mayor Sandra Bury’s political operation.
Previous cases against at least one other bar owner with political connections have not resulted in such regulatory action but non-supporters have received major penalties. No action was taken against PJ’s Pour House for issues while TC’s Pub was hit hard by the Mayor. PJ’s Pour House is owned by Trustee Tom Phelan’s brother.