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Article posted: 8/16/2013 6:03 PM

13 Batavia businesses accused of selling liquor to a minor

By Susan Sarkauskas

Thirteen Batavia businesses are facing sanctions after their workers sold liquor to a minor during a recent check by police.

"This was not a good year," said Detective Sgt. Kevin Bretz of the annual operation.

Mayor Jeff Schielke had even stronger words, saying he was "extremely disappointed.

"This borders on pure ridiculousness that we have this volume of lackadaisical attitude about compliance," he said Friday.

On July 16, July 24 and Aug. 1, a minor working for the police attempted to buy liquor. If asked for identification, the minor presented their valid Illinois driver's license. The license for people younger than 21 is vertically oriented, and has a red strip in which the date the person is eligible to buy liquor is highlighted. The agent was supervised by police officers.

"It's very plain on the driver's license. We are not trying to entrap anybody," Bretz said.

He declined to specify the agent's exact age and sex. He did say they are not allowed to apply makeup or dress in such a way that would make them look older than they are. They also aren't allowed to try to talk a bartender or clerk into selling to them.

The individual workers who made the sales have been issued ordinance violation tickets and will have to appear Aug. 20 at the Kane County Branch Court in St. Charles.

Schielke, the city's liquor commissioner, decides punishments to levy against the businesses. He is considering fining everybody but hasn't decided the individual fines, which can go up to $1,000. He also can suspend or revoke liquor licenses. He will be sending letters of stipulation, with the sanctions, to the business owners. If they don't agree with his terms, a hearing will be held.

Fines would go to a special fund designated for alcohol-law enforcement and drug and alcohol abuse education. In the past, that fund has given donations to Batavia High School's post-prom party.

The stipulation letters will also include a request that all parties involved undergo retraining on alcohol service.

And there will be a warning: "You better start getting your guard up," Schielke said, because the city will be checking again.

The establishments are:

Smashburger, 842 N. Randall Road;

Chili's, 491 N. Randall Road;

El Casanova, 1890 Mill St.;

Pepe's, 4 S. Van Buren St.;

Aliano's, 90 N. Island Ave.;

East China Inn, 140 W. Wilson St.;

East China Inn, 9 S. Randall Road;

Gammon Coach House, 3 S. Batavia Ave.;

Open Range American Grill, 35 N. Water St.;

Pal Joey's Pizza, 31 N. River St.;

Berkeley's Finer Foods, 28 S. Van Buren St.;

Windmill City Liquors, 101 S. Batavia Ave.;

Aldi, 451 N. Randall Road.

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