West End Liquor fined for violation

Store to pay in lieu of suspension for compliance check failure

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— The city of Steamboat Springs is allowing West End Liquor to pay an undetermined fine in lieu of having its liquor license suspended for failing a compliance check in September.

West End Liquor owner John Seymour was cited for selling a six-pack of Bud Light to an underage person Sept. 26. City staff initially recommended a seven-day liquor license suspension, with five days held in abeyance. But Steamboat Springs Liquor License Authority Hearing Officer Jim Moylan agreed Thursday that the penalty was too harsh, given West End Liquor's otherwise perfect 16-year record.

Seymour requested the least severe penalty possible during Thursday's show cause hearing, saying that he was "really disappointed" in himself, takes full responsibility for the violation and does not take liquor license compliance efforts lightly.

"We've checked literally thousands of IDs over the years," Seymour said. "It's me making a one-time, huge mistake. It's an aberration."

For as long as the city has been conducting compliance checks, a two-day suspension has been the baseline penalty for a first offense, City Attorney Dan Foote said. The two-day suspension was in part based on the understanding that it is difficult for licensees to oversee every sale made by their employees, Foote said.

In the case of West End Liquor, though, Seymour is both the liquor license holder and the person cited for selling to an underage person.

Ultimately, Moylan offered Seymour a choice between serving one day of a seven-day suspension, with the remaining six held in abeyance, or paying a fine in lieu of serving the one-day suspension.

Seymour elected to pay the fine. The amount will be determined at a later date, depending on West End Liquor's sales during the suspension, which will be served today.

"Two days is too harsh, given 16 years," Moylan said.

The September compliance checks, conducted by the Steamboat Springs Police Department, included attempts to buy alcohol with underage buyers at 13 local establishments. Arctic Liquors, Kum N Go at the Curve, 7-Eleven, Southside Liquors, Market on the Mountain, Central Park Liquor, City Market, Safeway, Anglers Kum N Go, Steamboat Discount Liquor, Cellar Liquors and Pioneer Spirits all passed their compliance check.

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