Lacking sufficient information, the East Providence City Council -- sitting as the licensing commission -- deferred taking any action last week against the owners of two so-called disorderly bars.
The bars, Rockin’ Times on Waterman Avenue, and East Bay Tavern on Lyon Avenue, were scheduled for “show-cause hearings” as to why they should not be fined or have their liquor licenses suspended or revoked.
Each was charged with violating the East Providence code for maintaining an orderly establishment.
When the owners or an attorney representing them came before the City Council, however, they seemed rather perplexed as to what they were charged with. And East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares said investigations into the allegations against the bars were still not completed.
Tavares said Rockin’ Times, at 478 Waterman Ave., is being investigated because of a variety of complaints about vandalism by customers leaving the bar, loud parties, assaults and other disturbances.
“Owners are responsible for customers leaving the business and causing problems elsewhere,” Tavares said.
He deemed the calling of the owner, Phil Rigi of Warwick, before the City Council a “preventative notice” before further episodes occur.
Switching to East Bay Tavern, Tavares said the investigation into the recent stabbing in the bar’s parking lot also is not complete even though an arrest has been made.
He said the bar was hesitant in notifying the police about the stabbing and not particularly cooperative with police officers investigating the incident.
“They are responsible for reporting immediately and cooperatively,” he said.
In the meantime, Tavares said, “police will be inspecting the bar nightly” and “keeping close checks” on it. The bar is owned by Denise Laidlaw of Pawtucket.
City Councilor William Conley questioned whether due process was followed in bringing these bars before the council at this time. He suggested that action be deferred until such time as the administration can present evidence to substantiate its claim against the license holders.
The attorney for Rockin’ Times called the session “a trial by ambush.”
“Tell me what it is I need to look at,” he said.
Mayor Bruce Rogers said: “I think we missed the boat on these. I thought we would have information to act.”
“Consider this a missile fired across the bow,” said Conley. “But I move to defer until evidence is available.”
Conley’s motions to defer action on both bars were approved unanimously: 4-0 with one absention.