Liquor Board fines fire company, clears Rod and Gun Club

November 11, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

A fight at the Gamber fire hall in September cost the volunteer fire company $100 in fines at yesterday's Carroll County Liquor Board meeting.

Board members also found the Dug Hill Rod and Gun Club not guilty of allowing a fight at their annual crab feed and granted a Class H catering license to A Grand Affair at the Mill Inc., of Hampstead, during the monthly meeting.

In the Gamber case, the board suspended all but $100 of a $1,500 fine and waived the three-month suspension of the liquor license after finding members guilty of allowing a fight on the premises, consumption of alcohol after hours and alcohol outside of the licensed premises.

"The board feels that because it performs a community function, all fire company moneys fined will come from the community," said liquor board chairman Earle Brewer in suspending the company's fines.

The fight on Sept. 27 involved 15 to 20 people who had left the hall by the time the state police responded at 1:11 a.m., said Cpl. Mark DiPietro of the Maryland State Police.

County liquor regulations require that alcohol not be served past 1 a.m., but patrons were still wandering around and drinking beer on the parking lot when the officers arrived, Corporal DiPietro said.

Patrons were also drinking in the hall, he said.

The company's officers denied the charges for the record, but agreed to Corporal DiPietro's recital of the facts.

"This was a benefit dance for the fire department and the incident should not have happened," said Paul Rappaport, the company's attorney. "The conduct was certainly not desirable for a fire department or a licensee. . . . I raised a lot of questions myself."

Mr. Rappaport, who said he had been a state policeman for 28 years before practicing law, said the company's board has created a set of rules to make sure future functions are controlled.

"I told them if they are going to have a rock festival, they have to have security and they're going to have to pay for it," Mr. Rappaport said. "This is not Frank Sinatra or a bingo night."

During the Dug Hill fight on Aug. 8, two large men attacked a smaller man when he made a remark about a young woman at the crab feed, said Clyde Wisner, who was chairman of the event that attracted some 300 people.

Club members pulled the three apart several times, and the men eventually left after a brief scuffle in the road, he said.

"There was no allowance of fighting," said William McDonald, the club's attorney. "The club members were trying to stop the fighting. I don't think Mr. Wisner or anyone else endangered anyone's safety."

After a brief deliberation, the board said club members did not allow the fight. However, members must provide the board with a written description of measures for crowd control before the next event.

In both instances, the state police did not file the charges, but simply notified the liquor board of the fights because they felt the incidents should have been controlled better, Mr. Brewer said.

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