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NYS Liquor Authority says it is investigating 'complaint' against Milleridge Inn

The Milleridge Inn restaurant in Jericho on April

The Milleridge Inn restaurant in Jericho on April 21, 2018. Credit: Alessandro Vecchi

The New York State Liquor Authority is investigating a complaint against the Milleridge Inn restaurant in Jericho, a spokesman for the authority said.

“We received a complaint and we’re looking into it,” spokesman William Crowley said in an interview.

Crowley said the complaint was “recent” but declined to provide additional details. He added that the authority investigates all complaints.

Milleridge Ventures Inc., which operates the historic restaurant, has a valid liquor license, according to the authority website.

The authority requested in a Sept. 17 letter to Oyster Bay’s planning department “any violations or summonses” that were issued at the restaurant and cited a May 14 Newsday article about code violations issued to Milleridge Ventures and landlord Kimco Jericho MI LLC, an affiliate of New Hyde Park-based Kimco Realty Corp.

The companies were charged with 18 violations of the Oyster Bay town code, including operating a restaurant without a certificate of occupancy following building alterations. Applicants for a license to serve liquor on premises must submit a certificate of occupancy to the State Liquor Authority, according to the authority website.

Kimco officials declined to comment Monday.

The authority provided Newsday with a copy of a certificate of occupancy submitted by the restaurant for its current liquor license that was dated 1979.

“There are [certificates of occupancy] on the property but there are additional permits that do not have COs,” town spokeswoman Marta Kane wrote in an email.

Kane wrote that permits had been issued at the restaurant by a prior operator that were “never closed out.”

The code violation case has been adjourned until Oct. 28.

Butch Yamali, a partner in Milleridge Ventures, said Friday that he was not aware of the authority investigation.

“I don’t know of any [liquor authority] violation,” Yamali said in an interview. “Everything is in good standing.” Yamali said he filed copies of the certificate of occupancy with the authority.

Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr. said at the Sept. 17 town board meeting that he had been contacted by the liquor authority and was helping officials obtain documents from the town.

Kimco is seeking a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to build a hotel near the Milleridge Inn.

Altadonna said at the meeting that the variance application should be postponed until after the code violations are resolved.

Councilman Louis Imbroto said that wasn’t the town board’s purview since the ZBA is an independent body. Altadonna said he would write the ZBA himself.

Yamali testified at a Jan. 29 hearing that the hotel, which was widely opposed by neighboring residents and is not connected to the restaurant, was needed to “save” the Milleridge Inn.

“Without this hotel, we could never survive there,” Yamali said, according to a transcript. “It's impossible.”

Yamali said his attorneys are working with the town to clear the building code violations, some of which he said date to work done in the 1950s, long before he began operating the restaurant.

“They want to clear everything up; this way they can commence building the hotel,” Yamali said. 

Yamali’s businesses have been in several disputes in recent months over hundreds of thousands of dollars allegedly owed under concessions agreements with governments and institutions, including Hempstead Town and Nassau Community College. Yamali has alleged in some cases that governments and institutions owe his companies money. 

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