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Haggerty v. License Appeal Com.

OPINION FILED APRIL 26, 1979.

LARRY HAGGERTY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

LICENSE APPEAL COMMISSION, CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PHILLIP FLEISCHMAN, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The petitioner in this case had his tavern license revoked by the Local Liquor Control Commissioner after he was found guilty of certain charges. He has appealed, contending that the findings of the Commissioner are not supported by the evidence. We disagree and affirm.

On March 15, 1976, the petitioner, Larry Haggerty, was charged with having, through his agent, Tommie Haggerty, bartender/manager, on December 13, 1975, possessed two unlicensed firearms on the premises of his tavern, the Ghetto Lounge.

In June 1976, during the course of the hearing, the complaint was amended and several other charges were added. After the hearing was finally completed the Local Liquor Control Commissioner, on September 23, 1976, found that the licensee:

1. on December 13, 1975, knowingly possessed, by and through his agent, Tommie Haggerty, bartender/manager, two unregistered firearms on the licensed premises;

2. was not the sole beneficial owner of the business but held the liquor license as a subterfuge for Tommie Haggerty;

3. employed Tommie Haggerty as manager and failed to file a manager's statement with the city of Chicago, as required by law;

4. employed Tommie Haggerty as manager, although the latter was ineligible to hold a license himself since he had been convicted of gambling;

5. knowingly loaned or gave away his retail liquor license to Tommie Haggerty;

6. illegally received money other than commissions from Topps Vending Co., a coin-operated amusement device firm that has coin-operated machines installed on the licensed premises.

• 1 The petitioner unsuccessfully appealed to the circuit court contending (1) that the Commissioner's findings 2 through 6, both inclusive, are unsupported by the evidence and that his first finding is unsupported by any evidence since there was no evidence that Tommie Haggerty was an employee or acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the arrest and (2) that the Commissioner erred in refusing to permit the introduction of certain evidence because Larry Haggerty, who is practically illiterate, was unable to identify the documents. After the trial court rejected these contentions, the petitioner has brought them to us on appeal.

In reviewing the petitioner's contentions that the Commissioner's findings are unsupported by the evidence we must keep in mind what we stated in Dugan's Bistro, Inc. v. Daley (1977), 56 Ill. App.3d 463, 470-71, 371 N.E.2d 1116, 1122-23:

"The appellee, in contending that the Bistro could evict Britt because he was intoxicated and had threatened the various employees, and that Britt assaulted Hough rather than vice versa and that only reasonable force was used in evicting Britt, is simply contending that the commissioner should have believed its witnesses and should not have believed Britt. To put it another way, the appellee is unhappy with the manner in which the issue of credibility was resolved. But it is for the local commissioner and not for the court to assess the credibility of the witnesses. (Sarytchoff v. License Appeal Com. (1973), 11 Ill. App.3d 735, 297 N.E.2d 646; Jackson v. Illinois Liquor Control Com. (1973), 10 Ill. App.3d 496, 295 N.E.2d 536; Daley v. Jack's Tivoli Liquor Lounge, Inc. (1969), 118 Ill. App.2d 264, 254 N.E.2d 814; Legones v. License Appeal Com. (1968), 100 Ill. App.2d 394, 241 N.E.2d 499; Daley v. Richardson (1968), 103 Ill. App.2d 383, 243 N.E.2d 685; Daley v. Perez (1967), 81 Ill. App.2d 478, 226 N.E.2d 676.) As this court stated in Daley v. Jack's Tivoli Liquor Lounge, Inc. (1969), 118 Ill. App.2d 264, 277-78, 254 N.E.2d 814, 820:

`In cases of this kind, we, and the Circuit Court, and the License Appeal Commission are all required to accept the judgment of the Local Commissioner as to the credibility of the witnesses. It is only he as the trier of the facts who is authorized to assess credibility weigh the evidence, reconcile conflicting evidence, if possible, and, if not possible, determine which witnesses are worthy of belief. Crepps v. Industrial Commission, 402 Ill. 606, 615, 616, 85 N.E.2d 5; Parker v. Department of Registration and Education, 5 Ill.2d 288, 293, 294, 125 N.E.2d 494; Adamek v. Civil Service Commission of Chicago, 17 Ill. App.2d 11, 20, 149 N.E.2d 466; Daley v. Rifkin, 84 Ill. App.2d 467, 470, 228 N.E.2d 224; Ill Rev Stats 1967, c 43, § 153 and c 110, § 274. Neither the Circuit Court nor this court should disturb the Commissioner's decision so long as it is supported by substantial evidence, and is neither arbitrary nor contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Daley v. Kilbourn Club, Inc., 64 Ill. App.2d 235, 211 N.E.2d 778; Daley v. Johnson, 89 Ill. App.2d 100, 233 N.E.2d 95. * * *

In our opinion, the testimony of the police officer was adequate to establish violation of the soliciting statute and, therefore, adequate also to support the license revocation. We are unable to find in this record anything other than possible disbelief of this evidence (which, as we have pointed out, is not available to us) to justify the ...


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