Franklin Connection - Serving Franklin County, WA

By Roger Harnack
Franklin Connection 

Koko's owner apparently wins first round against liquor board

"Stay" means upscale eatery is free to offer inside service until the case goes before a judge

 

Last updated 12/15/2020 at 2:39pm

Roger Harnack | Franklin Connection

Koko's Bartini owner Dana Slovak speaks to a crowd of more than 250 people Sunday night, the night before he faced off in a settlement conference against the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.

KENNEWICK - The owner of a local eatery and martini bar has apparently won a round against Liquor and Cannabis Board agents trying to use gubernatorial coronavirus orders to shut down inside service.

"We have a stay, meaning the liquor board cannot bother us anymore until we see a judge," Koko's Bartini owner Dana Slovak said in a video on social media Monday morning. "So come on out to Koko's Bartini."

The upscale eatery and martini bar at 4309 W. 27th Place, Suite 100, was cited, fined and threatened with license revocation by liquor agents demanding the business end indoor dining and drinking services.

During a settlement conference Monday, Dec. 14, Slovak said the liquor agent offered to reduce the business' fine from $500 to $300.

"We said we are not paying the fine and cite the violation," Slovak said in the video.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board has yet to comment on the hearing.

The citation was issued for noncompliance using Washington Administrative Code 314-11-015(3)(c), Slovak said.

"He (the agent) tried to proceed on other things," Slovak said, noting his legal counsel at Celski Law Firm brought the liquor agent on track.

Slovak also said his attorney then pointed out Revised Code of Washington 43.06.220 (2)(g)(iii).

Under that section, the governor's emergency orders cannot violate First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the right of the people to peaceably assemble.

Slovak said the agent stammered a bit, then decided to press forward to a formal hearing, which won't occur until mid-to-late January.

"I think we had him," Slovak said. "He was not about to agree with our argument at all."

Slovak is now awaiting a notice to appear he said.

In the meantime, the parties agreed to a "stay," Slovak said.

"We are free and clear to open up," he said, noting Koko's is open 4-9 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturday.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 5092356184
Twitter: @RogerHarnack

 

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