The Madison Beach Hotel's liquor license is under voluntary suspension and has been since April 30, 2011, according to the state Liquor Control Commission.
Since that time, the hotel has hosted several weddings inside the hotel and on grounds outside the hotel. The hotel also has hosted at least one charity event.
The suspension ends April 30, 2012, a spokeswoman for the commission said Wednesday morning.
Lou Carrier, who works for a company that is currently managing the hotel, said Wednesday morning that it was his understanding that the hotel did have a current liquor license. He said that Madison Beach Hotel has been "completely compliant, 100 percent lawful" when it comes to the state's liquor laws. He said that all events have been held with a state-approved liquor license.
The Madison town clerk said Thursday that the hotel has a caterer's license on file at town hall and that such a license does allow the licensee to serve liquor. The license was issued to Elizabeth J. McDevitt d/b/a The Wharf.
The issue of the liquor license at the hotel, , was raised at a recent meeting at the Madison Board of Selectmen, when town resident Walter Lippman said it was his understanding that the hotel did not have a current liquor license.
Lippman raised that issue along with several other concerns, including a discussion the town is having with the hotel over a and the repaving of a nearby street. Lippman said the hotel promised to repave Parker Avenue, but has not yet done so.
"Under Connecticut regulation, when a permit is placed under voluntary suspension, the sale, consumption or dispensing of alcoholic liquor is prohibited," said Claudette Carveth, a communications officer with the Department of Consumer Protection and the state Liquor Control Commission. "The Liquor Control Division has begun an inquiry to determine the status of this permit, including whether the permit should remain under voluntary suspension."
Carveth said a voluntary suspension can occur when the permittee requests it, or because the permittee is not doing business for more than sixty days. She cited the applicable statute:
Sec. 30-6-A6. Return of permits: reinstatement
A permit shall be returned immediately to the office of the division of liquor control upon (1) any change of ownership at a permit premises, except changes covered by section 30-6 A4 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, (2) discontinuance of business for any reason for more than sixty days, or (3) the suspension or revocation of business in connection with a disciplinary action by the division. If the premises are to be closed for sixty days or less, a letter to this effect should be forwarded to the division. A permit returned to the division under subsection (2) shall be considered to be under voluntary suspension. A permit may be renewed while it is under voluntary suspension but the division may not accept more than one such renewal application. Upon request by the permittee or backer in good standing, the division may reinstate the permit. Voluntary suspension shall not relieve the permittee and backer of liability under the liquor control act or under the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The sale, consumption or dispensing of alcoholic liquor shall be prohibited at any permit premises while such permit is under voluntary suspension.
Madison Town Clerk Nancy Martucci said Thursday afternoon that the hotel does have a caterer's license on file with the town. She said the caterer's license allows the licensee to serve liquor. "They have a permit type caterer, but it is in fact a liquor permit," Martucci said. She said the effective date was July 14, 2011 and the expiration date is recorded as July 13, 2012. It was recorded as being received by the town on July 15, 2011.
"They did have one on file here," Martucci said.
Carveth said Thursday afternoon that "Ms. Elizabeth McDevitt d/b/a The Wharf, does hold a Caterer’s permit, expiring July 13, 2012. Here’s what the law says about Caterer’s permits. The Department is looking into this matter involving the permits."
Sec. 30-37j. Caterer liquor permit. Notice requirements. Exemptions. (a) A caterer liquor permit shall allow a person regularly engaged in the business of providing food and beverages to others for service at private gatherings or at special events to sell and serve alcoholic liquor for on-premises consumption at any activity, event or function for which such person has been hired. The annual fee for a caterer liquor permit shall be four hundred forty dollars.
(b) The holder of a caterer liquor permit shall, on a form prescribed by the Department of Consumer Protection or electronically, notify the department, in writing, of the date, location and hours of each event at which alcohol is served under such permit at least one business day in advance of such event. If the holder of a caterer liquor permit is unable to provide the written notice required under this section due to exigent circumstances, such holder may provide notice to the department by telephone of the date, location and hours of each event at which alcohol is served under such permit.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of section 30-48, a backer or holder of a caterer liquor permit may be a backer or holder of any other permit issued under the provisions of this chapter except a manufacturer permit issued under section 30-16 or a wholesaler permit issued under section 30-17.
(d) The holder of a caterer liquor permit and any other permit issued under the provisions of this chapter that prohibits the off-premises consumption of alcoholic liquor shall be exempt from such prohibition for the purposes of conducting such holder's catering business only.
(e) The holder of a caterer liquor permit shall be exempt from the provisions of sections 30-38, 30-52 and 30-54 and from the requirements to affix and maintain a placard, as provided in subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 30-39.
Editor's note: This story was updated Thursday, April 12, 2012 to include information from the Madison Town Clerk and additional information from the state.