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State: Valley Stream bar’s liquor license suspended

The liquor license for Sonny O's in Valley

The liquor license for Sonny O's in Valley Stream was suspended Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday File / Howard Schnapp

State officials issued an emergency suspension Wednesday of a Valley Stream bar’s liquor license, charging the establishment with violating laws related to violent incidents and inspection failures.

The suspension of Sunny O’s license, which was ordered by the state liquor authority at its Wednesday board meeting, comes three weeks after Nassau police made arrests in connection with a March shooting death outside the West Merrick Road bar.

The authority on July 21 charged Sunny O’s with 14 violations of alcoholic beverage control laws, including assault, disorderly premise, and “becoming a focal point for police attention”.

Nassau police have documented four instances of drug possession at or outside the bar this month, and have had to respond to disturbances at the establishment at least six times in the past 60 days, the state agency said in a news release. The licensee also failed to notify the police of an assault of a patron at the premises on July 6, according to the state agency. State law holds establishments with liquor licenses responsible for violations that occur on the premises, the state said. Nassau police did not immediately comment Wednesday on the incidents.

“The establishment continues to pose a burden on police resources and has taken no discernible measures to remedy the disturbing recent uptick in violence and drug activity,” Christopher R. Riano, counsel to the state liquor authority, said in a news release. “This behavior will not be tolerated, and the SLA will continue partnering with the Nassau County police to take immediate action against licensees who jeopardize the safety of their patrons and their communities.”

A man who answered a phone number listed for the bar — where signage shows the name as Sonny O’s — would not comment Wednesday. A message left for the owner, James Sullivan, was not immediately returned.

State liquor authority officials said they also found that the bar failed to maintain business records, did not have food available for patrons, and possessed a minor amount of untaxed liquor on the premises, in addition to having building code violations.

An emergency suspension of liquor license prevents the sale or serving of liquor on the premises until an administrative hearing is held by the state liquor authority, according state law. A hearing date for Sunny O’s has not yet been announced.

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