Crystal DiGregorio said she plans to close the bar that bears her name after numerous run-ins with the State Liquor Authority and local police.
The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Monday that it had revoked Club Crystal Inc.’s liquor license after a series of liquor violations. The liquor authority board voted unanimously to revoke the club’s license and place the location on proscription for two years.
Proscription means that it will not be able to sell alcohol until it reapplies for its license.
This is the second of three sets of alcohol violations for the establishment since 2007. The bar also had its license suspended in January.
There are two more cases, totaling three violations, that are still pending review by the State Liquor Authority.
Many of Club Crystal’s liquor violation issues have been attempts by police and the city of Oswego to force the establishment out of business, DiGregorio said.
“The whole thing is a big joke and a scam,” DiGregorio said. “If the city doesn’t like you, they’ll do anything to get you shut down. I wish I had never put $400,000 into this city.”
DiGregorio, an Oswego native, said some city police officers went out of their way to find liquor violations at the bar when few, if any, actually existed. She gave an example of an alleged liquor violation in which the bartender accused of serving alcohol to a minor had only been at work for five minutes.
She acknowledged that some instances of minors being served alcohol were true, but pointed to police tactics as part of the problem. On one occasion, police allowed minors to sneak into the bar as part of a sting.
“This place has a horrible record,” said Bill Crowley, speaking for the State Liquor Authority.
Club Crystal is one of three venues that had its liquor license revoked by the liquor authority board. Eleven others had their licenses canceled and one venue had a seven-day suspension. There were 105 other liquor licensees that were also fined.
DiGregorio will not be able to hold any type of liquor license for two years. She has owned the club since 2005. Crowley said that it is possible for a proscription to be lifted earlier if the landlord gives proof that they have a new tenant who shows they plan to enhance screening and security.
The liquor authority had a record of 17 violations, most of which were sustained, pertaining to matters that interest the liquor authority alone dating back to 2007. These do not include noise or disturbance violations from the city. It was mentioned in an alcohol citation that the venue has become a focal point for local police.
However, DiGregorio refutes this claim. She said she submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain records that showed police responded to calls at other local bars just as often as Club Crystal.
The notification on the first series of violations occurred on Jan. 3, 2010 when Club Crystal was issued a statement by the liquor authority telling them to pay $12,000 in a civil penalty for five cases that went as far back as September 2007.
“$12,000 is huge fine, especially for Upstate,” Crowley said.
“They don’t tell you anything… if you fight it, you’ll get fined more,” DiGregorio said. “They can fine you whatever they want, whenever they want.”
The liquor license was also suspended for five days.
This suspension was for a set of five cases, which included four violations of selling or allowing the sale of alcohol to underage persons, one violation failure to exercise adequate supervision over the sale of alcohol and one violation in July 2008 for distribution of alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
By the time DiGregorio had to reapply for the liquor license in April 2010, there were more pending violations. The liquor authority cannot deny a license because of pending violations, but in lieu of the pending violations, it operates under SAPA until the issues are resolved.
For the second series of eight violations from September 2007 to July 2010 brought to the full board, five were sustained and three were dismissed.
The club was also cited with failure to supervise the conduct of liquor license and failure to keep adequate records of business transacted on the licensed property, as well as serving to underage persons.
There are two more cases, totaling three violations. One was from Aug. 21, 2010 and the other was from Oct. 17, 2010 for the licensee allowing the location to become disorderly from altercation and or assault. Another violation was from July 2011 for serving underage persons.
Each violation carries a maximum $10,000 fine, Crowley said. Since they cannot revoke the license again, the liquor authority will fine Club Crystal if they are found guilty.
DiGregorio said she plans to sell or lease the bar and possibly move back to Los Angeles.
“They come in and take my liquor license off the wall. There goes my whole investment down the tube,” DiGregorio said. “You would think that the town would want someone to come in and help the economy. I’m just done with this place.”