The Revere License Commission took up a full agenda of items at its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday, May 18, in the City Council Chamber.
Chairman Robert Selevitch and fellow commissioner Linda Guinasso were on hand for the meeting.
The chief highlight of the session was the commission’s hearing regarding the incident this past February at the Squire Club in which a patron was seriously injured by a broken bottle during a melee inside the premises in which a detail officer also was assaulted.
Revere Police Officer Daniel Marks, who was the detail officer on the evening of the incident, testified to the commission about what happened.
Marks said he was working his detail as usual when, around 1:30 a.m., he was made aware of a fight in a far corner.
“There were a few people fighting and it escalated from there,” Marks said. “There also were people fighting behind the bar. As I was making my way there, somebody tried to jump on top of me.”
Marks said he shrugged off that person and then went to assist another patron who had been struck over the head with a bottle.
“I knew he had been injured when I could feel blood from the victim from lacerations to his head,” said Marks, who described a chaotic scene with multiple combatants and glass barware “flying everywhere.”
According to Marks, he was able to determine that the pandemonium ensued after someone had tried to rip a gold chain from a female patron’s neck.
One person later was arrested in the parking lot for disorderly conduct, but Marks said that the perpetrator of the assault with a bottle fled the scene.
“From your perspective, what do you think the management could have done to handle the situation better?” asked Selevitch.
“There should be more officers on detail there,” said Marks. “It was a chaotic and confusing situation. My focus was on separating everyone who was fighting and moving them to the exit.”
“It’s very concerning to me that officers can end up in a problem like that. I think they should be staffed with enough security to help out,” said Guinasso.
The commissioners then heard from Police Lt. Thomas Malone, who is the overnight officer in charge.
“How would you characterize the situation at the Squire?” Selevitch asked Malone.
“Is there a problem every night? Of course not,” Malone said. “But we have to send half the platoon shift there every night, especially on the weekends, because of the shouting of patrons in the parking lot and to make sure that they get to their cars without incident.
“People come into the city from other places that have earlier closing hours,” Malone continued. “People are coming to our city for last call and they already have had drinks in them and this establishment seems to attract mostly out-of-towners who come here at 1:00.
“If I have to send five to six officers down to the Squire to close it, that takes away coverage from the rest of the city. I fear for my officers’ safety. People are paying a cover charge of $20-$30 for a last drink and they expect to have more than one drink,” Malone added.
“Is there anything they could do to make it better?” asked Selevitch.
“I believe we should roll back the closing hours to 1:00 from 2:00,” replied Malone. “The uptick in crime is rising exponentially across the country and this is hurting our coverage across the city.”
“If we have to use five officers for this business, they should have to pay for it as a detail,” said Selevitch.
“I’m a proponent of the 1:00 license,” said Guinasso. “We should not be baby-sitting a license. But people have proven they can handle it.
“This is very concerning,” Guinasso continued. “We’re shortchanging the residents of the city who might need the police. People drink, that’s what happens. For this coming summer, I do not want to see five of our officers in a parking lot.”
The commissioners then asked Peter DiPesa, a co-manager of the Squire, for his reaction to what he’d heard from the officers.
“This was a gang fight,” said DiPesa. “They have no respect for ourselves or the police. We have barred this group from our establishment. They’d been trying to come back for six weeks, but they finally got the message that they are not welcome. This was an isolated incident. We have a capacity of about 275 and there was less than half of that on the premises that night.”
DiPesa further stated that the patron who was cut was not struck with a glass bottle, but rather had injured himself when he jumped over the bar.
He also said that the issue is not alcohol-related. “It’s a culture-related thing,” said DiPesa. “People are smoking marijuana and liquor sales have dropped. This is the same thing and probably the same group responsible for what happened at Revere Beach this past weekend.
“We run a great establishment,” DiPesa continued. “We have hired an outside security team who observed the videotape. We have seven-10 security guards present every night. There should have been a dozen arrests, but only one person was arrested. We have an ID scanner and we know who is coming into our establishment.”
DiPesa then handed the commissioners a print-out of the ID scan for that night.
His brother and co-manager, Robert DiPesa, also stepped to the podium. He told the commissioners that they have increased police details on busy nights at a substantial cost ($14,000) per month.
“We have locked our front doors at midnight and selectively let people in after midnight with the police there. We are completely locked at 1:00. We have a police officer there to make sure that’s what happens. We also have switched to plastic cups,” though he acknowledged that they still are serving beer in bottles, which Selevitch noted defeats the purpose of switching to plastic barware.
“I want to thank the police for coming here this evening,” said Guinasso. “They typically don’t come here, but only if it’s a serious situation. The way I’m feeling right now, I’m concerned about the last call. I always want to make sure that the police are satisfied with the situation and with the changes that have been made.”
Peter DiPesa added that the Squire has installed six floodlights in the parking lot to make sure that people do not want to stay. He also said that the lighting inside the premises gets turned on earlier in order to get people out the door.
“Is there something you folks can do to facilitate the customers exiting from the parking lot so that the Revere Police don’t have to come down with a full shift to move people along?” asked Selevitch.
However, Malone addressed that issue, saying that this “really is a police matter.”
“Are you satisfied that the establishment is doing what they can do to make this safer for everybody?” asked Selevitch.
“I’ll say this,” Malone replied. “No business wants problems because it’s bad for business. I do believe they are trying everything they can. Hopefully, people will learn that they mean business and that when you’re out, you’re out.
“We would have loved to have made more arrests that night, but we were tending to the injured and restoring order,” Malone added. “The people who did this took off, but with the chaos of the situation, it’s very difficult to figure out who did what. Hopefully, the changes will work and we won’t have these issues anymore.”
“There have been no incidents since we implemented those changes,” DiPesa added, who again noted that those who caused the incident have been identified through the ID scanner and have been barred since.
In the end, the commission took no formal action. However, the commission voted to place the establishment on the Licensing Commission’s version of probation.
“I think we should continue this for a period of time to see that these changes have addressed the issues,” said Selevitch. “The establishment has made remedial changes and they have worked since the incident.”
Guinasso agreed with Selevitvh’s assessment, but added, “The police are our eyes and ears out there. We have to support them when they tell us there is a problem.”
The board voted to continue the matter for 60 days in order to reassess the situation.
“Though if there is another incident, we’ll obviously call you back in,” said Selevitch. “I’m satisfied that you’ve tried your best to alleviate this and the police are working cooperatively with you.”
In another matter, the board refused to approve the application of the Santa Fe Supermarket Corp., 760 Broadway, Linda M. Sandoval Diaz, manager, for the transfer of a Malt/Wine Package Store License from Shayona Management, Inc..
Ms. Sandoval presented her application to the commission, but acknowledged that she has had no previous experience with the sale of alcoholic beverages, nor has received TIPS (Training and Intervention Procedures for Servers of alcohol) certification.
“This (selling alcoholic beverages) is entirely different from the sale of food items,” said Guinasso, who also explained that there is technology available for examining the veracity of a person’s driver’s license or other ID.
“I wish you could give us a little more confidence that you can handle this,” said Guinasso. “I’m a little concerned with you not being TIPS-certified.”
“I was not aware of the training required to have this license,” said Sandoval.
“Usually, we ask everyone to be TIPS-certified,” Guinasso said. “I think a little training is in order for a liquor license to be transferred.”
“I am not comfortable transferring this license to you at this time,” said Selevitch. “I don’t see that you have the requisite experience necessary to deal with the alcohol situation. I suggest that you receive some training in the TIPS and do research on the service of alcohol and that you reapply when you think you can answer some of these questions.”
The commission then voted to continue the hearing on the application to next month’s meeting.
“I recommend that you get some training and have your TIPS-certification in order,” Guinasso advised Sandoval at the conclusion of the hearing.
The commission put to rest the long-running saga of the rampant parking violations at the Hampton Inn on Lee Burbank Highway, which had drawn the wrath of the city’s public safety departments for months. The commission had held a hearing on the matter in March and continued it for 60 days.
Sam Sudah, the hotel’s recently-hired general manager, appeared on behalf of the business.
“I can see from the paperwork that you have addressed the issues that had been the source of the complaints,” said Selevitch. “We have been in contact with the Revere Fire Dept. and they have acknowledged that you have remedied the situation.”
“We have done so and there have been no further incidents,” said Sudah.. “Any unauthorized vehicles will be towed by the tow company we have hired.”
The board then voted to dismiss the matter.
Other matters on the commission’s agenda were as follows:
— Auto Boss Group, Inc., 1107 North Shore Road, Brenno Rodrigues Rosa, President, Application for Transfer of a Class 2 Motor Vehicle Dealer License: Application of Auto Boss Group, Inc., Brenno Rodrigues Rosa, Manager, for transfer of a Class 2 Motor Vehicle Dealer license from Smart Buy Auto Group, Inc., said license to be exercised at 1107 North Shore Road, Revere, MA. Operating hours are to be Monday â€“ Friday 9:00 a.m. â€“ 7:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. â€“ 4:00 p.m., and the maximum number of cars for sale on the lot will remain at 17.
Mr. Rosa briefly presented the application. “There will be no change in the use of the business from the previous holder of the license,” he said.
Guniasso asked, “I’ve gone by there on numerous occasions. What’s the work being done there?”
“We cleaned the sidewalk and there has been no enlargement of the lot. We also put in some fencing,” said Rosa.
“It looks a lot better,” Guinasso noted.
There were no opponents to the application and the board voted 2-0 to approve the transfer of the license.
— Boston Wounded Vet Motorcycle Run 649-1 Squire Road, Andrew Biggio, Event Manager, Application for a 1-day Entertainment License: Application of Boston Wounded Vet Motorcycle Run for a 1-day Entertainment license to be exercised at 649-1 Squire Road on Sunday, May 22, 2022, from 10 a.m.â€“12 p.m. Event is a Veteransâ€™ Motorcycle Event, and entertainment will consist of a DJ and band. Expected attendance is 3,000.
Mack Cunningham presented the application to the commission for what has been an annual in the city for a number of years. He told the commission that its purpose is to raise money for severely-wounded veterans for such things as upgrades for their houses and financial support. He said he has coordinated the event with other police departments.
“I would be honored to vote for this,” Guinasso commented.
There were no opponents and the commission voted 2-0 to approve it.
— The Neighborhood Developers Shirley Avenue Municipal Parking Lot Rasha Mikhael, Event Manager, Application for a 1-day Entertainment License: Application of The Neighborhood Developers for a 1-day Entertainment license to be exercised at the Shirley Avenue Municipal Parking Lot on Saturday, October 1, 2022, from 1 p.m.â€“4 p.m., with a rain date of Sunday, Oct. 2, for the annual Shirley Ave. Cultural Festival. Entertainment will consist of a DJ, a photo booth, face painting and henna painting, and dance performances. Expected attendance is 100 â€“ 200.
Ms. Mikhael presented the application to the commission. “This has been an annual event since 2014,” she said.
“This has been an annual great event in the city and people look forward to it,” said Guinasso.
Ward 2 City Councillor Ira Novoselsky spoke in favor of the application. “This is the ninth year and the people love coming to it and we love doing it,” he said.
There were no opponents to the application and the board voted 2-0 to approve the one-day license.
— FLA USA, Inc.Harry Della Russo Stadium Manoel Mizael, Event Manager, Application for a 1-day Malt/Wine License: Application of FLA USA, Inc. for a 1-day Malt/Wine license to be exercised at Harry Della Russo Stadium on Saturday, May 28, from 11 a.m. â€“ 4 p.m., for a Mini Soccer Tournament between retired professional soccer players and their fans. Expected attendance is 250.
Mr. Mizael presented the application to the commission. He told the commission this is being sponsored by a Brazilian soccer fan club in the local area. His group is a non-profit organization and said that the sale of liquor would assist in raising funds for their cause.
He said he is TIPS-certified and said this will be a tournament with five older retired Brazilian soccer stars competing with their long-time fans, who also are in their 50s and 60s.
“This will be peaceful,” he said. “There’s no rivalry.”
The board voted 2-0 to approve the application.
— Amazon: One day mobile food vendor and entertainment license at American Legion Park at the American Legion building on Saturday, June 11, 10-5, Military Appreciation Day with food, music, and games.
Polly St. Jeune presented the application. She also said there will be a hiring table for persons who might want to work at Amazon’s Revere or Everett warehouses.
The commission voted 2-0 to approve the one-day license.
The commission received two communications from the ABCC, which were as follows:
1. Notification from the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) of the approval of the new All Alcohol Restaurant license application of Lupita Revere, LLC d/b/a Lupita Restaurant.
2. Notification from the ABCC of the approval of the new All Alcohol Restaurant license application of AM Salgado, LLC d/b/a La Hacienda 2.
The next meeting of the commission will be June 15.