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Lysak questions permitting of murder site


July 26, 2013
<b>City Councilor John Lysak is looking into other businesses in Springfield that may not have the proper permitting in place.</b><br>Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

City Councilor John Lysak is looking into other businesses in Springfield that may not have the proper permitting in place.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs

news@thereminder.com

SPRINGFIELD – City Councilor John Lysak is calling on city officials for an additional investigation into the murder at Duck’s Place, focusing on whether or not the bar should have been open at the time of the death of Eddiz Waller at the State Street bar on July 18.

Lysak said, “The tragic murder that occurred at Duck’s Place last Thursday should never have happened, because the bar should never have been allowed to open due to lack of necessary permits.”

He is also combing through city records to see if there are other establishments that are doing business despite not having the permits they are required to have, he told Reminder Publications.

“We need to make sure that all departments are on the same checklist and everyone is working together so this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Lysak noted the special permit from the City Council stipulated that Duck’s Place must close on midnight. Despite this requirement, the license granted by the Board of License Commissioners listed 1 a.m. as the latest the bar could be open, he said.

He added he doesn’t understand the difference between the two documents. The license, he explained, should reflect the stipulations on the special permit.

The answers Lysak has received so far have not fully addressed his concerns.

Earlier this week, Lysak issued the following statement and series of questions to the Sarno administration: “Upon hearing of the murder Thursday morning at Duck’s Place, I contacted City Clerk Wayman Lee for a copy of their special permit. I was informed by Mr. Lee that the special permit was never issued for this location because they had never paid their advertisement fee. This came as a shock to me that a bar could be allowed to open without receiving the proper permits required by law to open such an establishment.

“After learning that the permit was never issued, I am asking for an immediate explanation of why the bar known as Duck’s Place was in operation without a special permit. Below are some questions I would like to have answered in a timely manner.

“Why was their liquor license granted if they had not yet received their special permit from the City Council?

“Was the license commission [Board of License Commissioners] or mayor’s office aware that this establishment was in operation without the proper permitting?

“If they were aware, why was this establishment allowed to operate illegally? If they were not aware, why were they not aware?”

City Solicitor Edward Pikula answered his questions in a written statement.

“Why was their liquor license granted if they had not yet received their special permit from the City Council?

“Response: The License Commission was notified that the City Council had decided to grant a special permit. The License Commission typically relies on such notices. A copy of the notice sent to the License Commission by the City Council is attached, as are the minutes from the meeting showing the vote of the City Council. The actual payment of the cost of advertisement is a ministerial act not involving any discretion, and the applicant would be entitled to come in at any time and pay the amount to obtain the special permit. I recommend that the City Council consider revocation of the special permit. The License Commission acted last night to suspend the license.

“Was the License Commission or mayor’s office aware that this establishment was in operation without the proper permitting?

“Response: No.

“If they were aware, why was this establishment allowed to operate illegally.

“Response: The mayor’s office was not aware.

“If they were not aware, why were they not aware?

“Response: The City Council sent out notice that a special permit was granted.”

Lysak plans to convene a meeting on the special permit and ask the Board of License Commissioners how and why the owners of Duck’s Place were able to operate without a special permit or a business permit.

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