I-Team: Lawmaker Working To Keep Convicted Drunk Drivers From Owning Bar

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — New legislation has been filed on Beacon Hill that would prevent convicted drunk drivers from owning bars after the I-Team caught a prominent Boston bar owner still driving despite losing his license as a result of three OUI convictions.

WBZ-TV I-Team’s Kathy Curran reports

“It’s terrible judgment and a perfect example of why we need to close that loophole,” said Sen. Steven Baddour (D-Methuen), the author of the bill.

The I-Team’s investigation into Jim Rooney, the Boston bar owner and repeat drunk driver, who the I-Team caught on video cruising along in his convertible Mercedes even though his license was suspended, exposed a loophole in state law.

Rooney is the owner of the Baseball Tavern near Fenway Park. He lost his license to drive until 2016, but his liquor license remains intact.

As the law stands right now, a person can hold a state liquor license if they are convicted of operating under the influence, even if they are a repeat drunk driver. A liquor license can be denied if a person has a drug conviction.

Baddour’s legislation is aimed at making sure the right decisions are made when it comes to serving liquor. He said it is a test people with an OUI conviction, especially multiple convictions, have already failed.

“Obviously anyone with multiple violations can’t make the right choice,” Baddour said. “Therefore the Commonwealth should be able to come in and say you shouldn’t own a bar or the license to operate it.”

Ron Bersani worked to toughen the state’s drunk driving laws after his granddaughter, Melanie Powell, was killed by a repeat drunk driver. He said a liquor license shouldn’t be granted to a person like Rooney, who continued to drive despite losing his license for driving drunk.

“If he has that little regard for the laws in his own conduct and behavior, then I would find it hard to believe that he believes the laws apply to him and his business,” Bersani said.

Baddour would like to revoke liquor licenses already held by convicted drunk drivers. If that is not possible, he said the licenses should be taken away when they come up for renewal.

  • Vera Carroll

    Lock the POS up and throw away the key. This loser will continue to drive and he thinks he is about the law and better than anybody else. What will it take, a DUI where he actually kills some innocent person?

  • http://www.suspendedlicensehelp.com/blog/post/Proposed-DUI-Law-will-Revoke-Liquor-Licenses.aspx Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles News and Hardship License Information | Proposed DUI Law will Revoke Liquor Licenses

    […] DUI Law will Revoke Liquor Licenses by Attorney Brian E. Simoneau 18. March 2011 03:49 WBZ I-Team Reporter Kathy Curran has recently reported on new legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Baddour […]

  • Cynic

    Brilliant….Now in addition to all the other penalties for Driving under this guy wants to add life without income?
    Carrying this to it’s illogical conclusion no one convicted of driving under shoul;d ever be employed again.
    I t’s amazing what sleeze Politicians will do and say to get their name in the paper.
    What about the person that quits and never drinks again?
    Whit all dur respect (None) Mr.Baddour…you are not human.

  • Warren

    Has he struck and killed any children yet while he was driving drunk?

    How could a DUI Offedor hold a license to serve liquor? That’s like asking inmates what they think of the police.

  • Brandon Affeldt

    It is clear that Mr. Rooney has a problem, and he needs to get help for the problem. Drunk driving is a serious offence and all people should pay harsh penalties for doing so especially repeat offenders. Does anyone really believe taking away a person’s way of living is anyway to teach them a lesson?! It is clear that State Senator Steven Baddour had a tragic personal experience and is looking for blood. He is clearly thinking on his own behalf, and not thinking about others. Does MR. Rooney have a family? If so how many people are DEPENDENT on his salary? How hard would it be for anyone in Mr. Rooney’s position to find another job after the state seizes their PIECE OF THE AMERICAN DREAM? Who is Sen. Baddour to kill the hard work Mr. Rooney has apparently put into this highly recognized bar? Sen. Baddour should be spending more of his time serving the public, and not trying to kill the lives of individuals who have made terrible mistakes.

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/05/15/i-team-loophole-could-undermine-melanies-law/ I-Team: Loophole Could Undermine Melanie’s Law « CBS Boston

    […] same thing happened with Boston bar owner Jim Rooney, a repeat drunk driver who the I-Team revealed had a bad habit of driving on his suspended driver’s […]

  • http://rmvlawyer.com/blog/proposed-dui-law-will-revoke-liquor-licenses.htm RMV Lawyer - Blog

    […] I-Team Reporter Kathy Curran has recently reported on new legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Baddour […]

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