Just about any New York restaurant or bar owner could tell you: The State Liquor Authority is a grossly inefficient, woefully understaffed agency hog-tied in red tape, a bottomless abyss of backlogged hopes and plans. And now, there’s an official report that actually says so: As the Post reports, the State Law Revision Commission issued a 43-page report recommending a massive overhaul of the authority, whose poor management, it says, “jeopardize[s] public health and safety.”
The SLA, which currently has some 3,000 pending applications (2,008 of which are for NYC establishments), has a newly appointed chairman, Dennis Rosen, who has promised to clean up the agency, which was raided by federal agents in April as part of an investigation into bribery allegations. Rosen has said he’ll consider a BYOB policy, and has instituted a Self-Certification program that allows the applicant’s attorneys to vouch for their client’s paperwork.
This isn’t the first time that the SLA has had to clean up its act: back in 1963, a graft and bribery scandal threatened the political career of Governor Rockefeller and implicated some of the state government’s most high-ranking members, including the GOP state chairman, Judson Morhouse, who was charged with having demanded $100,000 and other financial benefits from the Playboy Club in exchange for a liquor license. A glorious legacy, in other words, that Rosen shouldn’t work too hard to uphold.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 2, 2009