Madam’s Organ Pushes Back Against ‘Fart Fine’

by Tim Regan July 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,959 2 Comments

Madam's Organ, photo via flickr/Adam Fagen

(Updated at 10:24 a.m. on Tuesday) Madam’s Organ has a message for the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board: “Rescind the fart fine.”

That’s what the Adams Morgan bar wrote in a new MoveOn petition launched today.

Last month, the bar was fined $500 by the ABC Board after a yearlong investigation revealed it violated a settlement agreement by leaving its windows open while a live band played there in 2014.

The reason for opening the window, explained Madam’s Organ owner Bill Duggan in June, was that the live band’s drummer “opened the window to let [a] fart out.”

“People get stabbed and shot in these other establishments,” continued Duggan. “In ours, someone farts and cracks a window and they spend a year on it.”

Now, Madam’s Organ is pushing back.

“To show the ABC Board there is no public support for their ridiculous ruling and waste of taxpayer money in a year long investigation, hearings and appeals, we created a petition,” wrote Madam’s Organ office manager Tucker Ewing in an e-mail to Borderstan.

The new petition, says Duggan, is an attempt at bringing awareness to what he sees as meddling by the D.C. government.

“Seems ridiculous that the government has everyone from the assistant attorney general on down sign off on a fart fine,” Duggan says.

This isn’t the bar’s first attempt to convince the ABC Board to take back its fine.

On June 29, Madam’s Organ formally filed a request to ask the board to reconsider its decision, but the ABC Board rejected the request in a wordy response letter.

“[Madam’s Organ] asserts that the Board erred as a matter of law by finding that Madam’s Organ’s conduct violated its settlement agreement because the agreement, when broadly construed, would permit the opening of the window in this case,” wrote the ABC Board.

“[Madam’s Organ’s] argument is bloated,” continued the board.  “No evidence is proffered to show that the parties to the settlement agreement contemplated the gastrointestinal challenges of employees, the controversies inherent in any culinary selections, or indeed any concern for the olfactory assaults on the patrons that the establishment attempted to avoid.”

In other words, settlement agreements seem to supersede stinky smells.

Though the ABC Board has said it will not reconsider the fine, Madam’s Organ could still appeal the board’s decision with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Photo via flickr/Adam Fagen


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