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Community Digest

Huntington Park : Closing Argument Heard in Casino Liquor License Case

February 20, 1992

A lawyer representing the Huntington Park Casino argued last week that the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control should not revoke its liquor license because management and employees were not involved in alleged drug use and dealing at the card club.

The ABC is considering revoking the liquor license because of more than 30 reported incidents ranging from drug sales to fighting between February, 1988, and October, 1990.

Administrative Law Judge Samuel D. Reyes heard a closing argument in the case last week and said he expects to make a recommendation next month. Reyes can recommend to revoke the license, impose a suspension or dismiss the case.

The ABC, which investigates and determines punishment for violations, hires a judge as an impartial third party to evaluate the merits of a case against a licensee. The ABC could accept or reject Reyes' recommendation.

Licensees can turn to the state's appellate courts to overturn ABC decisions.

Casino attorney Walter J. Karabian said that the casino's management and employees did not knowingly permit illegal activity at the card club, and that they even called police on occasion to stop it. He also appealed for leniency because, without a liquor license, the casino would probably be forced to close and its 170 employees would be left without work.

ABC lawyer David B. Wainstein did not make a closing argument but said that he would submit a prepared statement to Reyes, saying such economic arguments are irrelevant. The ABC has alleged that casino management did not do enough to prevent illegal activity at the card club.

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