I-Team: Weston Golf Club Sells Alcohol Without Liquor License

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV

WESTON (CBS) – The law in Massachusetts could not be clearer: If you want to sell alcohol, you have to have a liquor license.

But the I-Team has discovered one establishment that doesn’t play by that rule, and it happens to be one of the state’s most exclusive country clubs.

Every week, as golfers tee off at the Weston Golf Club, case after case of beer, wine and liquor is delivered to the private club to be enjoyed by its 500-plus members, who include some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Massachusetts.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports

“From every kind of vodka, to bourbons, to liqueurs, to champagnes,” said a former employee of the club, who spoke to the I-Team on the condition that we protect her identity.

The ex-employee said alcohol is served just about everywhere at the Weston Golf Club — at three bars in the clubhouse, by the pool, and even in to-go cups. And they’re not giving it away.

“Beer, I would say about six dollars, seven dollars for a beer. Mixed drinks would probably go from like eight to I’d even say 12 dollars,” she said.

The problem? The club isn’t licensed to sell it.

“This is a prima facie case of a situation where an institution, or individuals who are charged with running the institution, thought that the law did not apply to them,” said Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police lieutenant who now works for the Department of Homeland Security.

Asked what would happen if a club in Boston was found selling alcohol without a license, Nolan said: “That place would be shut down in 10 minutes. They’d be fined, they’d be sanctioned.”

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission confirmed that the Weston Golf Club is not legally licensed to sell alcohol, but a spokesman said the ABCC only has jurisdiction over establishments that actually have liquor licenses.

If someone is selling alcohol without a license, the ABCC said, that’s a matter for local law enforcement.

Local law enforcement in Weston is the Weston Police and according to the ABCC, it’s up to them to deal with the fact that the Weston Golf Club is selling alcohol without a liquor license.

But from what our investigation found, some Weston police officers aren’t in a very good position to enforce that law.

And this is why. Week after week, the I-Team’s cameras captured Weston police officers showing up at the back entrance to the club around lunch time. The former employee said those police officers would head straight to the kitchen.

“They would come right in time for lunch and then they’d be on their way once they got their food, no questions asked” she said.

Asked if any money was exchanged, she said, “Nope. Have a nice day.”

Said Nolan: “It certainly creates the appearance of impropriety when we see the police accepting a gratuity from an institution that is violating the alcohol laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

Weston’s police chief refused to comment on his officers getting free lunches. But in March, Weston’s board of selectmen acknowledged in its meeting minutes that a liquor license for the Weston Golf Club is needed “…to legalize an ongoing practice.”

To Nolan, the meaning of the selectman’s statement is clear. “It’s an explicit acknowledgement that an illegal activity is occurring in this context, in this setting,” he said.

The Weston Golf Club’s attorney claimed members own the liquor and the club just stores it.

He denied the club is actually selling alcohol and said this arrangement has been going on for decades in country clubs all over Massachusetts.

But the I-Team checked 148 other clubs in the state and found all but one has a liquor license.

In May, the town of Weston filed a bill in the state legislature to grant a liquor license to the Weston Golf Club. But that bill is still pending and will ultimately need approval from a town-wide vote.

Weston’s town manager initially agreed to talk with the I-Team on-camera and then cancelled the interview.

In full disclosure, our own Jack Williams has been a member of the Weston Golf Club for the last two decades.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Don says:

    I propose an “Occupy Weston CC” movement to hightlight the social injustice of standards of clubs thoughout the Commonwealth! Perhaps the Club has more wealth and lawyers to defend their behavior than the state of MA can prosecute. So all social clubs should learn from this and make alcohol a common possession by charter. Then why do we need an ABCC? Sound like a taxpayer deal to me!

  2. sheila says:

    oooohhh……..the laws apply even to us who have all this money……. what a shame…..poor you…

  3. chris says:

    town manger? He? actually its a woman…do your homework

  4. Rick says:

    Time for Paglia and occonnell to go!

  5. steve says:

    looks like a leutenant in the video, i wonder if thats why the cheif didnt want to comment…..typical cops

  6. chef says:

    If its the members booze and its just being stored , Why is it rung up on the computer like any other restaurant and why do they list it on their tax return under a fake entry? Classic case of being above the law.

  7. Homer Simpson says:

    Honestly…This is a “story”???? Doh!

    1. hef says:

      How about the club has a pending sexual harrasement suit, mcad suit, hires undocumented workers and has no liquor lisence . The management needs to change.

  8. chef says:

    Of course this a story, people in power who think they are above the law? why have laws if only some have to follow them?

  9. Gary Burnell says:

    i like the very end of this story the reporter says “Our own Jack Williams, has been a member for 2 decades”, where is his opinion on this? He gives it on any other item investigation. How long did he know it was going on for?

  10. Club Member says:

    Perhaps the I-Team should investigate ALL the facts before they air such a one-sided story. In fact more than 15 years ago the Dept. of Revenue ruled that The Club could serve their members as long as the meal taxes were paid, which they are. Come on I-Team there are more important stories in this State that need to be aired.

    1. chef says:

      so its okay to bribe the weston police dept?

      1. Club Member says:

        Are you that delusional to think that a group of dedicated professional police officers could be “bribed” with sandwiches? You certainly didn’t think that it was a “bribe” when you were employed at the Club.

      2. chef says:

        now thats pretty funny………………………

      3. Fred says:

        I worked there for two seasons and it was dictated by the GM to feed the cops. In exchange members and employees had tickets fixed

      4. rich says:

        As a former server there we were told to take care of the cops. In return, members and staff got free rides on speeding tickets etc.

  11. moore says:

    I was a server there for two seasons and the gm ordered the staff to take care of the cops. In return ,staff and members routinely got off on speeding tickets.

  12. rich says:

    As a former server there, the GM ordered the staff to take care of the cops. In return members and staff were given free rides on speeding tickets and such

  13. Club Member says:

    Perhaps your irresponsible and unsubstantiated accusations are part of the reason that you are a “former server”.

  14. Club Member says:

    Perhaps the fact that you make unsubstantiated and derogatory comments such as you’ve posted here is the reason that you are a “former server”. This entire story was fabricated by a disgruntled ex-employee who cares nothing about the law. He cares only about his owe selfserving revenge. How sad.

    1. rich says:

      Seems like you have had a lot of disgruntled employees. Why is that? When I worked there you were on your 6th chef in 7 years.Could the club possibly do things better?

    2. rich says:

      Fabricated? How did he create this story?You have no liquor license and you seem to think that because its “Weston” that its okay.The ploice are seen getting gratuities. How did he arrange that?

  15. Ronald says:

    rich, you seem really upset by this story and the whole investigation. I am wondering how long ago you worked there and why you seem to be obsessed with a golf club in Weston that has a seemingly non issue of a liquor dispute. Have you ever been to a Dunkin Donuts? Mcdonalds? Do you think police officers pay for coffee there? Weston is a small town. Its only natural that a major institution in the town be on a friendly basis with local law enforcement. The golf club in Weston is giving sandwiches to police officers…is that a crime? No. They are serving alcohol to a membership that already owns it. they “charge” for it to comply with meal tax and other service requirements. the club membership is probably just buying the liquor from themselves. I don’t see a crime here. If there is a crime its obvious that the club is taking the steps to rectify it by applying for a liquor license. Furthermore, I think that rich and chef are the same person and need to move on from some random story that aired a week ago. I look on this thread this morning and see that you rich are still posting on this thread and are growing more and more upset as the posts go on. I hope you find peace rich and have a happy holiday season.

    1. jane curtin says:

      The Arrogance is amazing……….

    2. alex says:

      Waitress sues Weston Golf Club over kitchen harassment
      .Boston Business Journal by Eric Convey
      Date: Monday, June 27, 2011, 11:08am EDT – Last Modified: Monday, June 27, 2011, 3:02pm EDT
      .
      .Related:Retailing & Restaurants, Human Resources, Legal Services …..Enlarge Image Kitchen employees and managers at the Weston Golf Club subjected young women on the tony country club’s waitstaff to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, one waitress’ lawsuit alleges.
      ….A former waitress at the Weston Golf Club .Weston Golf Club Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company .has sued the establishment in federal court, arguing she was sexually harassed by the club’s kitchen staff.

      Monique Karian, 25, began a waitressing job at the club in August 2010, her suit states. “As her family owns restaurants, she is a very experienced waitress and has worked as a waitress at various restaurants for approximately 10 years.”

      The harassment included a chef frequently rubbing Karian’s back and asking her when she’d date him, the suit alleges. Additionally, it states, another chef and kitchen workers “would often speak to each other in Spanish in a manner that made it obvious that they were talking about Karian and other female wait staff.”

      On one occasion, the suit alleges, a chef pulled Karian against his crotch for several seconds while kitchen workers laughed.

      The result, the suit argues, was “an intimidating, hostile and sexually offensive environment toward Karian and the other female wait staff who were in their 20s.”

      The club’s general manager, reached by telephone, declined to comment on the suit.

      Karian is represented in the case by lawyer William T. Harrington of Boston. No lawyer for the club, as of Monday, had filed an appearance in the case.

      A former waitress at the Weston Golf Club .Weston Golf Club Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company .has sued the establishment in federal court, arguing she was sexually harassed by the club’s kitchen staff.
      Monique Karian, 25, began a waitressing job at the club in August 2010, her suit states. “As her family owns restaurants, she is a very experienced waitress and has worked as a waitress at various restaurants for approximately 10 years.”
      The harassment included a chef frequently rubbing Karian’s back and asking her when she’d date him, the suit alleges. Additionally, it states, another chef and kitchen workers “would often speak to each other in Spanish in a manner that made it obvious that they were talking about Karian and other female wait staff.”
      On one occasion, the suit alleges, a chef pulled Karian against his crotch for several seconds while kitchen workers laughed.
      The result, the suit argues, was “an intimidating, hostile and sexually offensive environment toward Karian and the other female wait staff who were in their 20s.”
      The club’s general manager, reached by telephone, declined to comment on the suit.
      Karian is represented in the case by lawyer William T. Harrington of Boston. No lawyer for the club, as of Monday, had filed an appearance in the case.

      See Comments..

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      1. carolynn says:

        “The fish rots from the head down”

        Michael Dukakis

  16. Paul says:

    Why do I have to pay for my lunch when these cops don’t. Why are they special?….

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