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12/14/89 Aloha, Inc., D/B/A Aloha, v. the Illinois Liquor

December 14, 1989





548 N.E.2d 116, 191 Ill. App. 3d 523, 138 Ill. Dec. 886 1989.IL.1943

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Simon L. Friedman, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ and STEIGMANN, JJ., concur.


This case comes to us on appeal from an administrative review in the circuit court for Sangamon County. The plaintiff sought review of the findings and fine imposed by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (Commission). The circuit court affirmed the decision. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The evidence adduced at the administrative hearing before the Commission tended to show the following. On October 27, 1987, David Copeland, an investigator for the Commission, conducted an inspection of the plaintiff's place of business, the Aloha, a bar located in Springfield, Illinois. As a result of this inspection, the plaintiff was issued a citation by the Commission for violating sections 100.160(a) and 100.290(c) of the Commission's rules and regulations. (11 Ill. Adm. Code §§ 100.160(a), 100.290(c) (1985).) The plaintiff was specifically cited for maintaining its business premises in an unclean and unsanitary manner.

Pursuant to the citation, a hearing was held before the Commission on April 13, 1988. Copeland testified as to his findings during the investigation the previous October. He stated he inspected the entire premises in conformity with the normal procedures of the Commission's inspectors. During the course of his inspection he found numerous bottles of alcohol contaminated by insects. The tables in the customer seating area were covered with a sticky film, the carpeting throughout the bar was soiled and discolored, there was a sour odor behind the bar, and there were bugs in the racks of bottles located behind the bar. Copeland testified he confiscated 14 bottles of liquor that appeared to be contaminated with insects. These bottles had not been tested or examined by a chemist but were admitted in evidence at the hearing.

Copeland further testified that in the walk-in cooler he had discovered numerous containers soiled with mold or mildew growth and observed mildew growth on the interior wall, ceilings, and fixtures of the cooler. On the shelves inside the cooler he noted decayed food items and items contaminated by a fuzzy, gray mold or soil located next to alcoholic beverage containers. He also stated he saw open food containers, some of which contained food which appeared to be spoiled.

In the dry storage area located next to the walk-in cooler, Copeland testified the ice machine did not have a lid to protect the ice cubes for drinks and the machine was very dirty and appeared to have mold or some substance hanging inside the machine. Copeland also noted a refrigerator in the room which had the appearance of being extremely dirty. The co-owner, Mrs. Blalock, informed Copeland the items inside the refrigerator were her personal food items and not for public consumption.

Upon inspecting the bathrooms, Copeland found nothing out of the ordinary in the women's bathroom. He stated that the men's bathroom, however, stank of urine, the floor was sticky, and that half a roll of clearly used toilet paper was in evidence. He also found approximately a bushel and a half of used toilet paper stored under the sink.

One of the co-owners of the plaintiff, Mrs. Blalock, testified on behalf of the plaintiff. She admitted the Aloha Room did in fact have a problem with insects. She stated she had hired an exterminating service to work on the problem, but their efforts had not been successful at the time of the inspection. She stated that at the time of her testimony, the problem had been solved. Blalock testified that prior to the inspection, she had not put caps on the bottles. After a subsequent visit by the Illinois Department of Public Health, she began to cap all the bottles. Blalock acknowledged that bugs were plainly visible in the confiscated bottles and stated she had not seen the bugs until Copeland brought it to her attention during his inspection. She testified the cleaning crew probably would have noticed the bugs in the bottles and would have removed the bottles before the bar opened for business the night of the inspection.

Richard Lowe, an inspector for the Illinois Department of Public Health, was the final witness called to testify. He has stated that he had conducted an inspection of the Aloha Room on October 30, 1987. He testified that he had received a complaint from a customer and a telephone call from Copeland requesting an inspection of plaintiff's place of business. The complaint from the customer reported the presence of cockroaches and rats and a cockroach in the customer's drink.

Lowe testified he conducted his inspection with both Copeland and Blalock present. His inspection revealed two bottles contaminated with insects, and glassware contaminated with lipstick, food particles, and grease smears. He also stated the plaintiff did not have a test kit for the sanitation solution used in cleaning the glassware and the cloths for wiping the glassware were not stored in a ...

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