From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
Asefu’s Yegna Restaurant and 1920dc, both operating under a single alcoholic beverage license at 1920 9th Street NW, had their license revoked by the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board in an order released Wednesday.
The revocation was in response to a series of infractions for serving alcohol during prohibited hours.
Asefu’s and 1920dc had been shut down for 96 hours by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier late Saturday (1920dc Shut Down After Saturday Morning Homicide) in response to a homicide outside the premises early Saturday morning (Man Shot, Killed Early Saturday, 1900 Block 9th Street NW).
The liquor license revocation, however, was not related to the temporary shutdown. The ABC Board noted that the investigatory case related to the shutdown was moot as a result of the revocation order.
The ABC Board’s order found evidence that owner Asefu Alemayehu allowed the establishment to serve alcohol during unauthorized hours in a 2011 incident. On July 5, 2011, an investigator from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) visited the premises at 3:49 am and witnessed approximately 20 customers inside drinking beer. D.C. law allows for alcohol to only be served until 2:00 am on Tuesdays.
At a hearing in the case in January 2013, the ABC Board rejected a compromise offer that would have led to a shutdown for the establishments between February 18 and February 27, payment of a $3,000 fine, and a transfer of the liquor license.
Why the License was Revoked
In Wednesday’s order, the Board said they were revoking the license under their discretionary authority and because of a legal requirement to do so. Under D.C. law, an establishment automatically loses its liquor license after four serious violations in four years. In addition to the 2011 incident, Alemayehu was convicted of violations related to serving during unauthorized hours in September 2008, May 2009, and April 2010.
The Board expressed disappointment with these repeated violations in its order, noting “by repeatedly remaining open past its Board-approved hours, the Respondent has shown she cannot comply with the law, and that she has no regard for public safety, or the quality of life of residents.” The Board voted 4-1 to accept the order with Chairperson Ruthanne Miller disagreeing on revocation as a penalty.
These violations all occurred before hip hop bar 1920dc opened in July 2012, but because of the shared liquor license, that establishment can no longer serve alcohol. A tweet from 1920dc said the bar is “officially closed due to the revocation of the liquor license.”
February 23 Homicide
In Saturday’s homicide case, 24 year old Cedric Spicer was arrested in the shooting death of 30 year old Joseph Hardin (Arrest Made in Saturday Morning 9th Street NW Homicide). Spicer made an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court Monday and was charged with first degree murder while armed. He is being held without bond in the D.C. Jail. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for March 14.