10-day suspension starts Friday for The B.O.B.

Letters posted outside The B.O.B. on the first day of their liquor license suspension (July 4, 2014).
Letters posted outside The B.O.B. on the first day of their liquor license suspension (July 4, 2014).

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The B.O.B. posted a letter and a sign on their doors Friday on the first day of their 10-day liquor license suspension.

The B.O.B. decided to stop fighting the 10-day liquor license suspension imposed upon it by the state on Wednesday. The downtown Grand Rapids venue will be closed from July 4 through July 13.

The suspension covers all the bars in The B.O.B., which operate under a single liquor license. In addition to the suspension, The B.O.B. has been ordered to pay a $900 fine.

The B.O.B., which says it serves half a million customers each year, previously said a 10-day suspension could cost it up to $200,000.

On Friday, a sign was posted on a door of The B.O.B. saying the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has suspended the license for 10 days.

The B.O.B. also posted a letter thanking their customers and apologizing for “not being able to accommodate them from July 4 thru Sunday July 13.”

“We have decided to accept the Michigan Liquor Control penalty; as fighting it created to much uncertainty for our guests and our staff. We feel strongly that this is an injustice to our staff of 220, their families and all of our guests that have been affected by this MLCC decision.

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.”

The letter concludes by saying they have a lot of exciting things coming up and look forward to moving on from this event.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission first ordered a three-day suspension for two liquor violations connected to the May 2013 falling death of 36-year-old Kevin O’Brien. The more serious of those violations was serving alcohol to an intoxicated customer.

After The B.O.B. appealed the ruling before a panel of three Liquor Control commissioners in early June, they increased the penalty to a 10-day suspension. The B.O.B. appealed again, but the LCC’s ruling was upheld by a Kent County judge late last month.

The B.O.B. said Wednesday it will not appeal the suspension again because it “created too much uncertainty for our guests and our staff.”

The B.O.B. has said it was not responsible for O’Brien’s death. Attorneys argued that O’Brien had already had four drinks before he got to the venue on the night of his death, and that servers couldn’t have known that. O’Brien had four more drinks at The B.O.B. His blood-alcohol content (BAC) level was .25 at the time of his death.

O’Brien’s is one of three falling deaths at The B.O.B. in the last few years. Tylor Usher, 21, died there in 2009. And only a month before O’Brien’s death, Zachary Bunting, also 21, fell to his death in the same stairwell.

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