Arlington Heights mayor fines a dozen businesses for liquor violations – Daily Herald

Arlington Ale House in Arlington Heights was issued a $750 fine Monday for serving an underage patron as part of an undercover police sting. The business previously had its license suspended following a compliance check in 2019. Daily Herald File Photo
Kevin McCaskey, owner of Arlington Ale House, took responsibility for a bartender’s serving an underage patron during a recent Arlington Heights Police Department sting. “The bottom line is it’s my restaurant. I’m fully responsible for the actions of myself and all my employees,” he said Monday. Daily Herald File Photo
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes on Monday fined a dozen local liquor license holders — from bar/restaurants to grocery stores — for selling alcohol to minors.
The 12 violations were heard during two sets of hearings Monday afternoon in the village boardroom, with two more citations to be heard at another meeting within the next month.
In total, the 14 violations so far this calendar year equal the number in 2019 — the last year the police department conducted compliance checks, with the pandemic canceling the annual undercover sting in 2020.
Police say they still have 35 more businesses to check before the end of the year, out of some 110 liquor license holders in town.
Monday’s hearings included seven repeat offenders, including Arlington Ale House, which had its license suspended three days after teenagers purchased beer three times there in December 2019.
Its latest violation was recorded Aug. 8, when a bartender sold a Bud Light to a 19-year-old working undercover for the police department. The employee didn’t ask for an ID, officials said.
Bar owner Kevin McCaskey and his attorney, Stavri Vako, outlined a series of steps the establishment has taken since then: The bartender and a security guard were fired; three cameras were installed at the entrance; patrons under 21 are no longer allowed, even with parents; new scanners to check IDs were purchased; and undercover spotters were hired to ensure security guards are doing their jobs.
McCaskey also brought with him a stack of fake IDs his bar workers have confiscated from minors who have tried to get in over the past three months. The establishment has operated on the third floor of the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre building at 111 W. Campbell St. for five years.
“I am sorry and I acknowledge that I broke the law. I’m beyond frustrated,” said McCaskey, who is a grandson of Chicago Bears matriarch Virginia McCaskey. “(The employee) chose not only to violate protocol, but she chose not to ask his age or for an ID. She knows the policy. …
“One person’s actions do not reflect this restaurant as a whole. The bottom line is it’s my restaurant. I’m fully responsible for the actions of myself and all my employees.”
Taking into account McCaskey’s “corrective actions” since the first violation in 2019 and after the latest citation, Hayes — who doubles as local liquor control commissioner — leveled only a $750 fine on the bar, saying it was not an “egregious” violation.
The other fines issued Monday were to:
• Armand’s Pizzeria, 101 W. Campbell St. ($1,500).
• CoCo & Blu, 12 S. Dunton Ave. ($500).
• Foremost Liquors, 1776 W. Algonquin Road ($500).
• JNS Food & Liquors, 921 W. Rand Road ($800).
• Portillo’s, 806 W. Dundee Road ($750).
• Birch River Grill, 75 W. Algonquin Road ($750).
• Jameson’s Charhouse, 1331 W. Dundee Road ($750).
• Javier’s Sabor Mexicano, 8 W. Miner St. ($750).
• Mariano’s, 802 E. Northwest Highway ($750).
• Ttowa, 161 W. Wing St. ($1,000).
• Valli Produce, 450 E. Golf Road ($750).
In addition to fines, the businesses are on the hook for court reporter and attorney’s fees still-to-be-determined, and a $75 administrative fee.