Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oops, Can I Own A Liquor License?

WRTV's Jack Rinehart is raising a very embarrassing question for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi today. It seems Brizzi is a part-owner of Harry & Izzy's, a restaurant bar under construction in Circle Centre Mall. At issue is an Indiana law which prohibits a law enforcement officer from having a financial interest in an establishment which sells alcohol. Rinehart reports:

According to an application for a liquor license for Harry & Izzy's, an establishment set to open at Circle Centre Mall in the spring, Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is a part owner of the business.

The Alcoholic Beverage Commission says law enforcement officers are prohibited from having a financial interest in establishments that sell alcohol. Indiana Code 35-41-1-17 says a prosecuting attorney is a law enforcement officer, Rinehart reported.

"If our legal staff advises us that that applies in this case to a prosecutor, then we would have to make notification to the applicant that one of their people is not eligible to hold a permit," said Maj. Robin Poindexter of the Indiana Excise Police.

In a statement to 6News Monday afternoon, Brizzi said attorneys who prepared the liquor license application are looking into the matter.

"If we determine that there are any conflicts whatsoever, we will take the appropriate action at that time," Brizzi said.

Harry & Izzy's is set to open at the Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis this spring. The Marion County Liquor Board will hold a hearing on Harry & Izzy's liquor license application on March 5.
Brizzi's wife is a former deputy commissioner of the state's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. The statute referenced in Rinehart's story defines a law enforcement officer. If someone has the cite for the actual statute which prohibits a law enforcement officer from owning a financial interest in a business which sells alcohol, please feel free to share.


Anonymous said...

I did some research for you:

IC 7.1-3-4-2(4) states: "a) The commission shall not issue a beer retailer's permit, except as otherwise authorized in this title and subject to the other restrictions contained in this title, to the following persons: (4) A law enforcement officer or an officer who is not an elected officer of a municipal corporation, or governmental subdivision, or of this state, charged with any duty or function in the enforcement of this title."

However, as with the IC, one should _always_ check for multiple definitions. Law enforcement officer is not defined under Title 7 (that I could find). So next we go to other titles. There are at least three that define who/what a law enforcement officer is:
Using IC 35-41-1-17 would make Brizzi a LEO.
Using IC 9-13-2-92 would not make Brizzi an LEO.
Using IC 14-15-8-4 goes by that listed under IC 35-41-1-17.
Using IC 14-22-40-5 also points you back to IC 35-41-1-17.

So under at least two titles, Brizzi is an LEO. Under another one, he is not. I personally do not see how you can use one over another. To me, the criminal law title is just as related to Title 7 as the traffic law title. Personally, this law needs to go. If there is a push to end this issue (A definition of LEO under Title 7), watch the GA help to protect most of their buddies and just have plain old police officers listed.

Anonymous said...

hmmm. Brizzi sure was awfully quiet on the 300 East Fiasco and Carl Drummer's questionable behavior as well as the peashake houses.

Was a deal struck?

Anonymous said...

I doubt he struck a deal with Drummer, 300 East, et al. Drummer isn't that bright. And, 300E's main roadblock was never the prosecutor, so colluding with Brizzi woudln't have gotten that crowd anywhere--their hurdle was the Metropolitan Development Commission. Which bent over like a cheap straw shack, thanks to Ms. Conley's initial ruling.

I'd be inclined to give Carl a pass on this one. The spousal connection is interesting, and he sure should've known better, but I don't think Carl is going to qualify as a brilliant man. Ever. I think this one was an innocent oversight.

And I can't stand him, so, this comes from a longtime Dem who thinks he's a lousy prosecutor.

But in life, and business, sometimes innocent mistakes are made. He should be allowed to opt out of the corporation and have the license investigation move forward.

Unlike 300 East, Izzy's hasn't yet gotten permits improperly, lied to neighbors or attempted to thwart discussion at a public meeting. Or, as with 300E, one of the chief applicants does not have a record as owner of a similar establishment with a long list of violations (Savoy).

Anonymous said...

You know what? Every day in this city make me want to just sit down and cry. Is there not one elected, appointed or connected person in the trust of public scrutiny that is not working some kind of shady angle to enrich themselves? Now I will have to say that Brizzi's not the shiniest lure in the City's tackle box but this stuff justs keeps goin' on and on and on and on.

If Diogenes of Sinope were to take his lantern out into the streets of Indianapolis looking for an honest man I am absolutely certain that the Mayor would offer him $5 million for rights to use the lantern on top of the lady on the circle tower providing a few dollars get kicked back here and there.

Is there not just one honest person running this town or am I just asking to much?

Wilson46201 said...

Some people see a glass as either half full or half empty. Others imagine the glass is cracked and full of hemlock...

Anonymous said...

You may have a point there Wilson 46201. If a person gives you a crack pipe with hemlock and crack in it do they end up half full of s..t or completely full of s..t. Now, which are you?

You live in 46201? I live in 46201! We could be neighbors!!! Remember back when Peterson and Brizzi came to our doors looking for votes and talking tough on crime? Boy I do!!! I think they got stoned on the crack and hemlock at our local shake house that day and haven't recovered since.

Anonymous said...

The investors and their proportionate investments are:

Craig Huse (35%)
Stephen Huse (35%)
Thomas Browne (10%)
Christopher Clifford (10%)
Carl Brizzi (10%)

Craig Huse is a big contributor. Now you know why Brizzi ignored the 300 East law-breaking.

Anonymous said...

Again, I'm a Dem who can't stand Brizzi, but help me out here: how does 10% of a downtown bar, with well-established owners' track records, equal ignoring the 300 East nonsense?

This kind of logic just baffles me. It's better left to IndyUndercover, where there is no logic.

I'm a lot more angry at his office's prosecution record, which is dismal.

His friends wanted to open another business. Brizzi ponied up to own 10%. He shouldn't have due to the liquor license issue.

Slight contact, one foul, shoot the free throws, play on.

Anonymous said...

Stupid move, Carl. Why?

Wilson46201 said...

The 2 Huses who are the principals in Carl's new bar already own St. Elmo's Steakhouse. Why were they so nice and sharing as to need a paltry 10% investment from the local County Prosecutor?

Craig Huse is also the Chair of the Indiana NRA-PAC. Gun-control anybody?

Wilson46201 said...

from www.LinderCompany.com:

"The Linder Company represents new Harry & Izzy’s restaurant in Circle Centre Mall lease.
Carmel, Indiana, May, 2006

The Linder Company partner, Mark Perlstein, represented Steve and Craig Huse, owners of St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, in lease negotiations with Simon Property Group for a 9,000 sf restaurant space in downtown Indianapolis’ Circle Centre Mall.

About Harry & Izzy’s: Harry & Izzy’s will feature a two-story dining room and centrally located bar in an upscale Prohibition-era setting. The restaurant will offer high quality dishes at affordable prices. Guests can order a number of meals, ranging from the traditional St. Elmo shrimp cocktail and filet to seafood, pasta or a thin crust pizza.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, Harry & Izzy’s will offer a convenient location for business lunches, after-work cocktails, and dinners for Indianapolis residents, hotel guests or other visitors. The restaurant is scheduled to open in winter of 2006.

Whether it’s securing prime locations for your business or attracting the right retail mix to your development, The Linder Company continues to deliver superior quality and service backed by over two decades of retail real estate success stories. "

Anonymous said...

It's clear Brizzi associated with known restaurantuers who have a track record of success. Horrors! Not so with Savoy and 300 East investors. Just a bunch of politocos and hangers-on and a millionaire lookin for a place to hang.

The difference?

Established businesspersons who know their stuff, would never:

1. Get construction permits improperly
2. Having done so, and having it pointed out to them, would not continue construction, thumbing their noses at those who disapprove...and crying racism all the way
3. Lean on neighborhood associations to disallow open discussion about the new establishment
4. Continue with the last point of No. 2 ad nauseum...especially on 1310 AM
5. Drag the landlord/politician into the argument and conspire to conceal the lease document and related items
6. Apply for aliquor license, using as the primary manager a man with a DUI on his record.
7. Repeat No. 4, because now, it's not about good business, it's about the man holdin ya down, dontcha know?

Carl Brizzi is guilty of misjudging the reaction this would get. He's smart enough to have cast his lot with successful and proven restaurant owners. He will likely divest his ownership stake and get on with his prosecutorial duties. The new restaurant will likely open in a suitable location with solid managers and business plans.

Again, unlike 300 East.

Sir Hailstone said...

Craig Huse is also the Chair of the Indiana NRA-PAC.

And the problem with this???

Anonymous said...

I will take the exact opposite view from 1:15/6:32. Unlike that previous Anon poster, I am a Republican who very much likes the the job that Carl has done as Prosecutor.

But his emerging status as The Only Living, Breathing Republican in Marion County seems clearly to be going to his head. His ego had already changed dramatically from his time as a local volunteer in Washington Township. But this latest election seems to have put that ego right over the top (along, by the way, with most of the people surrounding him). Interesting thought to be the King of such a collosal failure of an organization. But I guess being even the King of Anything can do amazing things to your ego. Too bad.

Yes, I suspect this had a lot to do with Carl's silence on 300 East. Yes, I think this was a very stupid, arrogant move. And yes, I think even the light of this King's star is starting to fade.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37, it's difficult to be a prosecutor these days. Thousands of cases per year, and with one small oversight, murderers can be let loose. And you get the blame.

Nonetheless, Carl Brizzi has been, by almost any measure, a mediocre prosecutor at best. His handling of the murder case last summer, and previous dealings with the alleged offender, were indicative of his political assumen.

His star was fading long ago. How else do you explain his dismal election showing last year, against an inexperienced first-time candidate? He eeked out a victory.

Nonetheless, he'll get a pass on this restaurant thing, and he probably should. If he comes clean quickly, divests himself of ownership, and moves on, we all should, too.

No harm (yet), no foul.

Anonymous said...

Well, we'll just have to disagree on Carl's role as a Prosecutor. We'll also have to disagree on the importance of this issue. Carl is a part of the justice system. It is his job to know the law. I'm pretty sure that Carl knows that he is "a law enforcement officer" as well. So even if he does pull out, I consider it extremely poor judgement to have gotten into this mess in the first place.

So, I guess we Do agree on the fading star issue.