AUBURN, Mass. – Three Auburn businesses that sold alcohol to an underage person in August were punished with different levels of suspended liquor licenses on Monday night, after the Board of Selectmen found them guilty of selling to a minor.
Licenses from Outback Steakhouse and Mass Discount Liquors will be suspended for one day in October, while Auburn Convenience Store has a 30-day suspension, followed by 60 days of probation. Police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis recommended the punishments, and the selectmen approved.
The violations, which the businesses admitted to, occurred on Aug. 22 and 23 when the Auburn Police Department Liquor Law Enforcement Unit sent an underage person into all businesses that sell alcoholic drinks to see if they were properly refusing to sell alcohol to minors.
After the two-day operation, the police found that Auburn Convenience Store, Mass Discount Liquors and Outback Steakhouse sold alcohol to the person under 21, and the selectmen found them guilty after testimony from Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Lourie and the businesses.
A manager at Outback Steakhouse, 771 Southbridge St., sold the minor a Bud Light on Aug. 23, despite the minor not presenting an ID. The one-day suspension is set for Monday, Oct. 1.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy, and the manager on duty was terminated,” said Tony Cline, regional manager for Outback Steakhouse.
An employee of Mass Discount Liquors, 844 Southbridge St., sold a minor a six-pack of Bud Light on Aug. 22 without asking for identification. The liquor store had a violation in 2009 but has passed many undercover checks since, said owner Dilip Bhavsar.
“The employee has been here for 10 years, and he has never done that. It was a failure of judgment and will never happen again,” Bhavsar said.
The store’s one-day suspension also is Monday, Oct. 1.
Auburn Convenience Store, 33 Zabelle Ave., received the stiffest punishment from the board. The store, which sold alcohol to a minor in 2009 and had an eight-month suspension, has an immediate 30-day suspension, followed by 60 days of probation, after selling a minor a six-pack of Bud Light on Aug. 22. The minor was not asked for identification.
“It was definitely a mistake, and I apologize. We need to be more vigilant,” said owner Hersh Verma.
Board Chairman Doreen Goodrich said another violation could cause the license to be revoked.
“We don’t want to see you here again,” Goodrich said.