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Council, Clam Jammers reach agreement

March 28, 2012

Photo by Shaun Kirby Clam Jammers will have its liquor license suspended from April 2 through April 8.

NARRAGANSETT—The Town Council held a Show-Cause hearing Monday evening to address multiple liquor license violations committed by Clam Jammers, a restaurant and bar at 294 Great Island Road in Galilee. Owner Paul Troxell was on hand to accept an agreement reached after a number of consultations with Narragansett Police Chief Dean Hoxsie and Narragansett Fire Marshal James Given.

“They met about a week or 10 days ago, and came up with a set of proposed punishments and restrictions,” said Town Solicitor Mark McSally. “I had some concerns about a couple of the terms and if they were strong enough. I made some adjustments to it, but I am on board with it now.”

Hoxsie presented the Town Council with a summary report of the various violations for which Troxell and Clam Jammers have been responsible. Clam Jammers hosts ‘Under-21’ nights on Fridays and Saturdays during the winter months, and underage persons are able to mingle with others who are drinking alcoholic beverages. Wrist bands have been commonly handed out to distinguish under-21 participants, but significant issues had arisen.

“With the Under 21 nights and a crowd of 18 to 21 people mixing with overage drinkers, problems will arise if it is not properly policed,” said McSally. “Some weekends everything worked well, some not, but things culminated with the arrest of a door man who had a side-business selling wrist bands to get underage persons to drink. He has been taken care of, but Clam Jammers own that conduct as well because he was an employee.”

Andrew Paliotti, 23, of Narragansett, was arrested by NPD on March 3 after undercover officers discovered he was responsible for selling wristbands to underage persons at Clam Jammers, and subsequently fired. Paliotti was arraigned on March 6 on two misdemeanor charges, delivery of alcohol to a minor, first offense, which was dismissed, and procuring alcohol for a minor. He pleaded no contest and must serve six months probation.

In separate incidents, Paliotti also faces five felony charges for manufacturing, delivering, and possession of Schedule I/II substances, as well as one count of possession of Marijuana, first offense. He is scheduled to appear for a status conference on September 14.
Hoxsie detailed 28 other liquor license violations which have been recorded by NPD since September 21, 2011, incidents such as patrons throwing glass beer bottles into nearby fishing vessels, citations of fake ID usage by underage persons. Disturbances such as public urination were detailed as well. An agreement was reached between NPD and Clam Jammers based on the severity of these incidents.

“I looked at some other establishments in town in which I’ve had issues of show-cause, such as Poncho O’Malley’s or Pompeii,” said Hoxsie. “Of the arrests we’ve had at Clam Jammers, about 50 percent were on the premises, mainly the presenting of fake IDs. The other 50 percent occurred around the premise, down the road, such as [underage persons] ‘pre-gaming’, or drinking before they went.”

“We’ve met twice with Mr. Troxell, and a lot of the issues they had, particularly in February, have been remedied,” he added. “I want to see every business be successful, but we are obligated to regulate how that business is conducted for the public’s safety and welfare.”

Per the proposed agreement with NPD, dated March 26, Clam Jammers will have its liquor license suspended from April 2 through 8, will conduct only single service at the bar on under-21 nights, and must serve alcoholic beverages in cans or cups only. Troxell and Clam Jammers must also maintain sufficient staff for monitoring entrances and the deck area, pick-up garbage in the area created by establishment patrons, and institute a new wristband program.

“[The new wrist band program] requires wrist bands for all patrons with different colors being used for those over 21,” read the agreement. “The colors of the wrist bands shall change every evening.”

“We are trying to eliminate some of the scams when some people re-use wristbands,” said Hoxsie. “It is not fool-proof, but it is a way to cut down on the avenue for those [underage persons] who want to buy drinks.”

A three-month liquor license restriction will be issued to Clam Jammers, but will be stayed until June 18, at which point the establishment can demonstrate if it has remedied its violations. Furthermore, in agreement with the State Fire Marshall’s Office, a new fire detail will be stationed at Clam Jammers.

“The agreement with the Fire Marshall’s Office is that anytime they are having entertainment, typically on Friday and Saturday nights, crowds will be monitored,” said Given. “It is overall at my discretion to see how crowds are working.”

“Our issues are having to deal with the differences in fire code going from a restaurant to a bar, he added. “I will say that [Troxell and Co-Owner Brent Santos] are working with my office closely towards getting into compliance and getting themselves squared away.”

The agreement was approved by the Town Council unanimously, although council members expressed their concerns about the severity of the punishment. Town Council President Glenna Hagopian, for example, expressed the desire to have a three month license restriction, as opposed to the suggest six month period, in order to more quickly monitor Clam Jammers’ activities.

“I think six months is a long window to be allowing,” said Hagopian. “A shorter window to check in will make me feel better, as exams start and we go into the season where [underage drinking] may be harder to control.”

Council members also addressed their feelings towards the entire situation and NPD’s overall work culminating in the Show-Cause hearing on Monday evening.

“I don’t want to see people go out of business, but I am surprised that the bracelet program didn’t start a long time ago,” said Councilwoman Susan Cicilline-Buonanno. “When [Clam Jammers] is going to bring minors into a drinking establishment, I take issue with that.”

“The stuff I read, I never want to read again in my life, and there are some bad violations there,” she added. “This under-21 thing is killing me, and I am appalled at the violations.”

Hoxsie did express that the violations which have occurred at Clam Jammers have not been as severe as past incidents with alcohol-serving establishments in Narragansett. He cited the former Pompeii Lounge, a nightclub in Mariner Square which, in 2009, was brought to a show-cause hearing after numerous liquor license violations.

“I think we had a lot more issues at Pompeii, especially with visibility,” said McSally. “A lot more fights and DUIs were going on there, and they had drink specials that were pay $10 and drink all night long, so things like that.”

“If we were having the issues here that we had at Pompeii, I’d be asking for a revocation of license,” said Hoxsie.
Councilman Christopher Wilkens commended the work which NPD has conducted in bringing proper punishment to Troxell and Clam Jammers.
“The Police and Fire Departments are on top of this,” said Wilkens. “They are the experts.”

Troxell accepted the Town Council-approved liquor license restrictions on the behalf of his partner Santos and himself, and spoke in closing to Council members.

“I fully expect we will be under a microscope forever, so we will agree to whatever [the Town Council] wants us to agree,” said Troxell. “I think that we did bring this on ourselves, and intend to be fully compliant with the agreement. I don’t expect any issues.”

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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