An underage buyer working for the Reading Police Department successfully bought a beer at earlier this month.
As a result, two workers lost their jobs, the restaurant will not be able to serve alcohol for three days next week and all liquor-selling establishments will have to appear before the board of selectmen in November to renew their licenses this year.
At a time when the Reading community is in town—and when the town for the same violation—Selectman James Bonazoli said that it may help to bring liquor sellers in to further that dialogue.
He noted that bar and liquor store owners often say that they are aware of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, “[but] none of them have ever showed up at any RCASA meeting to my knowledge.”
Selectmen Steve Goldy confirmed that assumption.
Bonazoli said that he also saw it as an opportunity to find out what the town could do to ease the license-holders’ job of preventing underage sales, but expressed concern about how Fuddruckers’ prevention procedures broke down.
Christopher Latham, the lawyer representing The Boland Group III (which operates the Fuddruckers), said that the restaurant had a “double-check policy.” Both the cashier selling the beer and the server delivering the beer were supposed to check the underage customer’s ID, he said.
But, according to Sgt. Det. Mark Segalla of the Reading Police Department, the department’s plant on the night of Sept. 9 entered the restaurant, asked for a beer and was then sent to a table. A server brought the beer to the table, he said, and then asked for the customer’s ID. The customer didn’t have identification, and the server left.
“The cashier entered a false date of birth in the register,” Latham said. The server, he said, relied on the cashier to do his job.
Both, he said, were fired following an internal investigation. All operation managers working that night were also given a notice of warning that was added to their employee file, he said.