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Hotel Baker admits to liquor license violation

ST. CHARLES – For the second consecutive week, Mayor Ray Rogina is pondering the penalty for a liquor license violation.

Monday, legal counsel for Hotel Baker told the St. Charles Liquor Control Commission that his client didn’t contest the allegation that a patron left the establishment with an open bottle of alcohol.

Attorney Joe Klein did, however, ask that mitigating factors be taken into consideration. Enforcing the liquor laws at Hotel Baker requires more vigilance than at other establishments because it has overnight guests, hosts such events as weddings and birthday parties and has a bar and restaurant, he said.

Even with these extra challenges, Klein said, the hotel boasts an “excellent record” with the city.

“I think that the hotel views this as an aberration,” Klein said.

Owner Joe Salas said the person who took the alcohol outside was a guest of the hotel and ordered the drink near closing time. Usually, he said, the assumption is guests will take the alcohol to their rooms.

Hotel employees know not to let liquor leave the premises, Salas said, noting they are “disappointed” with themselves for this violation.

The liquor commission discussed the issue for about 10 minutes in closed session.

Rogina – who also acts as liquor commissioner – said in open session that he will take the discussion under advisement and issue an order to Hotel Baker in seven to 10 business days.

He commended Salas and Klein for attending the meeting and providing the mitigating factors while admitting the hotel was in violation. Doing so, he said, “showed a degree of class.”

Last week, the liquor commission held a formal hearing for The Filling Station, which also was accused of letting a patron leave its premises with open alcohol. Rogina found The Filling Station guilty and later ruled it would have its liquor license suspended for two hours next month.

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