- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
For a second time, a Waldorf eatery with a long history of liquor license violations had its license revoked Thursday afternoon.
Thai Seafood in Waldorf came before the liquor board for a violation of a consent order that allowed the restaurant to have live entertainment, provided it did not use promoters and did not have go-go bands play. The order was approved in December 2011 and took effect January 2012. This was an extension of a consent order that was issued when the restaurant received its license again in 2009, and so the two were in conjuction with each other.
In his opening statement, Associate County Attorney Adam Storch referenced the restaurant’s long “history of interactions” with the board, including appearances for past infractions such as hosting nude entertainment and hosting events without a liquor license. The investigation shows, Storch said, that the restaurant has flagrantly violated both terms of the consent order.
Walking through the evidence with Charles County Sheriff’s Office Master Cpl. Judith Thompson, online fliers for events at the restaurant clearly featured the names of area nightlife promoters, along with known go-go bands. Thompson said she visited the site multiple times to try and steer licensee Sutasinee Thana toward compliance, but Thana seemed to be dismissive of what was required of her business.
“It seemed to me that she thought I was more concerned about the promoter’s name on there rather than them using promoters,” Thompson said of one of the fliers she discussed with Thana.
Research into events at the restaurant kept revealing that go-go bands were playing there, Thompson said. Charles County sheriff’s officers Christopher Curtis and Shemeki Chandler also testified. Both officers had worked security at the restaurant while off-duty, and both said they had seen and heard go-go bands playing inside.
Curtis also recalled an incident where Thana’s husband, a manager at the restaurant, had gone to pay him and had asked him to talk with Thompson about the possibility of going easy on them regarding the investigation of the establishment.
Thana’s testimony was inconsistent with Thompson’s and the other two officers. She steadfastly denied hiring any go-go bands to play there, but when asked if she knew what go-go was could not identify it and described it as music “only the colored people” listen to.
“It is very hard for me to have to pick and choose” acts that perform, Thana said. “They always ask me why they can’t play, and I show them the consent order. They are surprised to hear.”
Thana did not answer when she was asked if she actually listens to the bands she hires before they are scheduled to perform. She did say she approves all fliers for events at the venue and allows an outside vendor to book acts.
Ultimately, the entire board took issue with Thana’s negligence.
“I probably worked a couple hundred go-go events, and in my experience the promoters will mislead you on a regular basis,” board member Guy Black, a former police officer, told Thana. “If you don’t stop them they will allow any band of their choosing to come play. It comes upon you to really look at who’s coming. You really didn’t have the knowledge. ... You failed to look into who they were and what they were bringing, and it’s cost you part of your reputation. It’s also not just music for African-Americans. It’s people all over the area who listen to it.”
“Who are you talking to when you book these?,” chairwoman Pamela Smith asked of Thana as she reviewed the evidence. “You have eight bands on one flyer. Did you talk to all of them?”
“Looking at these fliers ... they’re not playing R&B or smooth jazz or some dinner music there,” member William Young said. “They’re coming for some go-go.”
“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Smith said.
“The point that I think is so troubling ... is the violations were so soon after the ink dried on the consent order,” Storch said. “They have been so consistent.”
Although Thana’s attorney, David Martinez, maintained that no go-go acts get through the doors of the restaurant, the board was not sold.
Member Wayne Magoon took this most recent infraction personally, as he “caught a lot of grief” for favoring the reinstatement of the license last time.
“I’m frankly rather hurt by what I see here because I stood up for you,” Magoon said. “I believe you knew what you were doing.”
“You are not the kind of business I want in this town,” Smith said. “I want you to do well but by the law. Shame on us for not getting you in here sooner. You have no respect for this board or the rules.”
“We work with you diligently, but you guys just don’t work with us,” Young said. “You’re very disrespectful, and you want to do what you want to do.”
Until this point, the board members were operating under the assumption that revoking the consent order and entertainment privileges was the most they could do. However, Associate County Attorney Matthew Claggett informed the board that because the order was issued in conjunction with the license, technically both were on the line. With that revelation, the board voted unanimously to revoke the license.
The board also:
•Issued a one-day temporary license to serve beer, wine and liquor to Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church for a silent auction Jan. 25.
•Approved a transfer for the license for Aqualand Marina Ships Store in Newburg from Jerry Volman to George Kenneth Hayden Jr.