Element loses liquor license for 10 days
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
August 4, 2009 · Updated 3:42 PM
The state Liquor Control Board issued a 10-day liquor license suspension to the Element nightclub in Oak Harbor for allowing a minor into the cocktail lounge.
The popular club on Bayshore Drive is closed for 10 days, from Aug. 3 to 13.
Brian Smith, spokesman for the Liquor Control Board, said the violation in March was the third time in a year that the club was caught allowing a minor inside. After the last violation, the club’s liquor license was suspended for four days.
“This is one of the most serious types of violations that the Liquor Control Board handles,” he said.
The liquor license would be yanked permanently if a business has four such violations in a two-year period, though the owner has the ability to appeal a decision.
Smith said the 10-day suspension is a settlement in lieu of the usual 30-day suspension for a third violation. In addition to the 10-day suspension, club owner Mike Kummerfeldt agreed to pay a $5,000 fine, provide additional training for staff members and install more surveillance equipment.
Kummerfeldt couldn’t be reached for comment.
Smith said a liquor control officer happened to be following up on a complaint at the club last March when the officer caught the underaged girl in the cocktail lounge. She claimed she wasn’t carded before entering, but the manager said she presented a fake ID, according to Smith.
The Element has been in the spotlight since two people were injured in an accidental shooting outside the club last year. Neighbors in the nearby condominiums have been upset about the noise from parking lot, as well as criminal activity.
But Wednesday night, Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace is set to give the City Council a positive report on the Element. The council members asked for a periodic update on concerns of noise, traffic and public safety at the club as a condition of the nightclub license.
According to the council agenda, the police received 35 complaints, from assaults to noise, about the club in the second quarter of the year. Nearly all the complaints turned out to be unfounded or were minor issues settled by police contact. A man was arrested for urinating in public on the stairs from the parking lot; a woman was referred to the prosecutor for possible charges for picking flowers at an adjacent park.
Wallace said this report won’t address the club’s current suspension, but the issue will be taken up in next quarter’s report. He said the club could face a warning or infraction under the nightclub license.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.