In July, Framingham Police arrested the bartender at Railroad Six Sports Grill on drug charges. During the investigation, police identified a total of six liquor license violations.
The owner Salvatore Bellone fired the bartender and voluntarily closed the establishment for 5 days to fix the problems.
According to the Framingham Patch, on Tuesday night, Framingham Police recommended Selectmen, the town’s licensing board, suspend the alcohol license for an additional 5 days.
Selectmen said that punishment was not strong enough, and unanimously voted to continue the public hearing until Dec. 1, giving them time to consider a tougher penalty.
Police said besides the drug arrest, a half dozen employees, including that bartender, did not have certified server identification cards from the Town of Framingham.
Lt. Harry Wareham told Selectmen his investigation uncovered the manager was not spending the required number of hours a week at the establishment, and Railroad Six had stopped serving food but was continuing to pour alcohol.
Bellone, who is the owner as well as the manager, said he was at the hospital where his wife gave birth to their second child the night the bartender was arrested.
He testified at the public hearing that the bartender was only on his 7th or 8th shift, when he was arrested.
“I don’t condone drugs,” said Bellone. “I fired him on the spot.”
“I wish I could go back in time and never hire the guy,” said Bellone to Selectmen.
Bellone, who owns two downtown Framingham businesses, said he cooperated with Police throughout the investigation.
Bellone said he didn’t realize the serve ID cards expire in 2 years, and that he thought he had 30 days for any employee to get a server card after being hired.
“I closed down for the week voluntarily,” said Bellone. During that time, he said he made sure every one of his employees was certified to serve alcohol, and then he re-opened.
Bellone also said he didn’t know it was a violation to not serve food, while keeping the bar open.
“It was stupidity on my part,” said Bellone, who said he appreciated Framingham Police educating him on the liquor license rules.
“It was negligence on my part,” said Bellone, who appeared before Selectmen during the public hearing without a lawyer.
“Hard for me to accept the excuse that you were not familiar with rules and regulations. That is a poor excuse,” said Selectmen Chair Charlie Sisitsky to Bellone. “You should have been familiar with every one of them.”
“Holding an alcohol license is privilege and not a right,” said Selectman Cheryl Tully Stoll. “Which regulations did you understand?”
“I have never in all my years that I’ve sat here seen anything like this,” said Selectman Laurie Lee. “It is a blatant disregard for the rules.”
Selectman Mike Bower said the violations were “disturbing,” and made the motion for a stronger penalty than a 5-day alcohol license suspension.
Bellone does have the option of meeting with Police, and working out an agreement for a stronger penalty before the December hearing date.