Madison Beach Hotel Being Investigated By State Liquor Control Commission [Updated]

The New Haven Register reports that former Police Commission Chairman Emile Geisenheimer of Middle Beach road, and other residents make complaint to police after concert by The Fixx in late August.


The Madison Police, prompted by a complaint from former Police Commission Chairman Emile Geisenheimer, have referred the Madison Beach Hotel to the state Liquor Control Commission for selling liquor on the Grassy Strip, the town-owned piece of land adjacent to the hotel, according to a report in the New Haven Register: 

Geisenheimer and two other residents complained to police the day after the Aug. 30 concert, and the case went to the department’s top brass, Commander John Rich, with much of the evidence having gone through Chief John Drumm. The case resulted in a police referral to the state’s Liquor Control Commission, alleging a violation of the hotel’s permit to sell liquor, according to a police report. The concerts were on of land owned by the town, but contiguous to the hotel at 94 West Wharf Road and used by them under an agreement with the town that includes no alcohol consumption.

The report in the Register said they obtained a video taken by Geisenheimer of the concert, showing a woman selling beer, through a Freedom of Information request. Read the full report in the New Haven Register.

Claudette Carveth, a spokeswoman for the state Liquor Control Commission said Wednesday the department is investigating the complaint from the police. She said she did not know the specifics of the complaint and did not know how long the investigation might take.

"I can only tell you we have received a complaint from the Madison Police Department as of Monday afternoon and we will investigate," she said.

John Mather, the general manager of Madison Beach Hotel, whose name is listed on the liquor licenses issued by the state, issued this statement: 

“We have been informed of a complaint regarding draft beer being served on the property of the Madison Beach Hotel.  This occurred during a scheduled free music event hosted by the hotel for our neighbors in the greater Shoreline community.  We believe we are fully and strictly compliant with all rules and regulations in the safe, lawful dispensing of food and beverages, and have received no notice of violation from either town leadership or from any state agency. We take great care in providing a safe and secure environment for our guests and neighbors and will continue to do so in a manner consistent with these high standards.”

Madison Zoning Enforcement Officer John DeLaura told Madison Patch on the day after The Fixx concert that he had received several complaints about noise following the hotel concerts from about two or three people, and maybe about a half dozen emails.

DeLaura told Madison Patch that the Zoning Board of Appeals conditions of approval do include restrictions relating to the amplification of music and outdoor events. He said the hotel is also operating the concerts as part of a separate agreement with the town relating to the Grassy Strip, where the concert was held. It is owned by the town, but is being used by the hotel as part of a short term arrangement that will expire at the end of the year, and be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen.

DeLaura told Madison Patch on the day after the concert that he reviewed the information with the town attorney and did not plan to issue a letter of non-compliance to the hotel about the complaints. "This is a complex situation involving the conditions of approval and, now, the temporary agreement about the Grassy Strip that allows them to host concerts and events on that space," DeLaura told Madison Patch. "What we have is ambiguity there."

The New Haven Register article says DeLaura "told police he would issue the hotel an informal notice of violation for exceeding the number of attendees allowed, the police report states. According to the report, Geisenheimer told police on Aug. 31 that there were ongoing noise issues during the Thursday concerts and that the hotel violated its zoning variance for outdoor events because there was additional outside lighting, alcohol consumption and more than 120 attendees."

Madison resident Walter Lippmann has complained repeatedly about violations by Madison Beach Hotel to the Board of Selectmen.

Lippmann has said that the hotel ignores ordinances, parking and zoning requirements, and has committed other violations. At a recent Board of Selectmen meeting he said expressed concern about water flowing from the roof of the hotel over to the town-owned beach across the street.

Following Lippmann's complaints at that meeting earlier this month, hotel officials said town officials called to discuss that matter with them. First Selectman Fillmore McPherson and other town officials have not responded to an email request for information about what action, if any, the town took following Lippmann's complaints about the water.

SGA September 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Chuck, have you been to any of the concerts or movies? We didn't get to attend any of the concerts, but we saw most of the movies with our kids. The crowds were not big, there was not a lot of noise, and in no way was it an "Atlantic City cheese fest." It was a really nice way to enjoy the evening as a family in a beautiful location over our all-to-short summer season. I hope MBH offers the movies again next summer in spite of the few negative attitudes around town. We live very near to the high school. Last night we were treated to a lot of screaming and noise from sports fans. We often get to listen to the marching band practice the same song over and over and over again. We have to put up with traffic late at night after school events, sometimes involving quite a bit of celebratory honking and screaming. From about 6:45 to 7:30 in the morning, we can't get out of our own driveway because of the traffic. I have not once considered complaining about the noise level or traffic issue because it means we live in a vibrant area with enthusiastic support for the public school athletic program. The benefits for us living near the schools vastly outweighs the hassle of living near a school. I'd like to think that if I were fortunate enough to have a home right on the water, I'd be so happy with life that my attitude wouldn't be so "quaint and historic."
Ann September 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM
SGA. That's a really good way to put things in perspective with respect to noise and I agree that those of us who live close to places where the rest of the town convenes for recreation need to sometimes accept the noise, at reasonable hours. However, we're all sort of missing the main point of the story which had to do with serving liquor without a license and if we're to form opinions about Mr Geisenheimer's actions, we should probably address whether or not that's acceptable or appropriate or if it even happened.
Michael September 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Well said Chuck. As Leslie requested above, I refuse to shut up and support it. They ran rough shot over us and I have the freedom to speak the truth and demand a change not only in the behavior of the MBH but in the elected officials that continue to bring us their self interest and not the communities. I would have been happy to "support our local" if they had not continued jamming their ambitions down or throat. I love "our local" I know many by first name and support many despite cheaper equal quality options (i.e. RJ's). We don't need a lecture on how to be good economic neighbors. SGA above has it wrong. If you have kids you bought your house after the High School (new or old) was located where it is. Don't be shocked that there are sports events on High School fields that preceded you. Don't try to link those arguments. Besides, sporting events are open to the public and are accessible with the correct parking plans (sans Lowery Field) and don't cost unimaginable fees (read $25 parking fees on concert nights at the Dolly). The cost of use of town lands are relatively free and expected the cost of the MBH has increased in cost at every turn and unpredictable. Enough already.
kathy drews September 13, 2012 at 10:59 PM
First the b-1 bear and know the Madison beach hotel, As the Madison turns.
Audrey Horn September 15, 2012 at 06:17 AM
You are not alone Michael ! Anywhere I have ever gone in Connecticut where there was alcohol being sold or served outdoors, the area had some sort of barrier like a fence or gate with designated entry/exits. The business checked and verified the I.D. of anyone wanting alcoholic drinks and then issued them a wrist band in advance if they were 21 or older. With 300 people attending and milling around outside the M.B.H. concert, how did they control potential illegal alcohol sales and consumption at their sponsored event? I don't think that was the job of the one lone cop that was there as he had his hands full with traffic and general crown control. Just askin!


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