The Rapidian

Gilmore Collection response to liquor license ruling lacks sincerity

The B.O.B.'s actions since the recent death of Kevin O'Brian and the two before him comes off as a cold disregard for survivors of loved ones lost.
The B.O.B. (left) during Artprize

The B.O.B. (left) during Artprize /Richard Deming

On July 2, The B.O.B. accepted a 10 day liquor license suspension in relation to the May 2013 death of Kevin O’Brian. The suspension bans the establishment from serving alcohol from July 4-July 13. This is the third death at the B.O.B. in the last five years. In a statement released by the B.O.B., they called the 10 day suspension “an injustice.” The blatant insensitivity of their statement gives the distinct impression the business doesn’t fully accept the weight and severity of the events that led up to the suspension. O'Brian was served when he shouldn't have been and the consequence was he fell to his death in a stairwell of the B.O.B.. As a result of the third death in a span of five years, the liquor license was suspended for three days and when the B.O.B. fought back, the suspension was extended to 10 days.

The local business is being penalized for serving alcohol to O’Brian when he had already exceeded his legal limit, having already spent time that night at several other local bars, as testified to by O'Brian's friends. The excessive amount of alchohol is what led to his death in the B.O.B. stairwell. One other individual, Zachary Bunting, had fallen to his death in this same stairwell a month before Tyler Usher died from a fall in a different part of the building in 2009.

The B.O.B. modified the stairwell after the falling death of O’ Brian. However if they had been taking these deaths seriously from the beginning, they would have modified the stairwell after the first falling death.

The B.O.B.'s statement, calling the closing "an injustice to their employees," is callous towards the family of the victims. The real injustice is that people have died here- and the B.O.B. doesn't seem to believe they are responsible for that fact. The choice to shut down the establishment is a personal one, and the injustice served to the employees appears to be coming from their employer and not the state.

The B.O.B. has said that they will lose as much as $200,000 in the 10 days that they are closing for the suspension. The amount of money that they are losing is a small price to pay for the responsibility of loss of life.  

Instead of accepting the original three day suspension, which would have been less of a financial burden to the business, the B.O.B. chose to appeal it in court, wasting local citizens' money in an appeal that only landed them with the longer suspension. 

The B.O.B.’s major defensive point through all of this is that O’Brian was found by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to not be visibly intoxicated. They claim that the bartenders at the venue as well as local witnesses did not observe any behavior that would have indicated O’Brian had reached his limit. This is a point that the B.O.B. felt should have won their case.

In the statement released from the B.O.B., the establishment says, “Our continued concern, and a concern all establishments that serve alcohol should have, is that if a person is not visibly intoxicated, you can still be held responsible for their actions, which are unknown to the establishment. That puts enormous risk on every licensee. “ 

There is, indeed, risk and responsibility that comes with being an owner of a liquor license. Knowing that judgment is impaired with alcohol makes you responsible for any individual that walks into your business. The B.O.B. served O’Brian the night he fell, and while he might not have been obviously intoxicated, there still should have been other measures in place to prevent the terrible event that occurred that night in May.

Any other establishment that would have had three deaths occur from the serving of alcohol would be taking a step back and looking to see what they could be doing differently. The way that the B.O.B. is reacting to this strong reprimand by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is reminiscent of a petulant teenager whose iPhone you’ve just taken away.

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Fantastic article. This kind of writing is why I love the Rapidian.

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