Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 5, 2012

State rules against Dumoulin permit

Bar owner seeking liquor license for new breakfast spot.

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— State officials appear poised to block Kokomo bar owner Dan Dumoulin’s liquor license request, putting Dumoulin’s proposed new north side bar in doubt.

The state Alcohol & Tobacco Commission appears likely to uphold an earlier ruling against Dumoulin by the Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Board, with a state hearing officer issuing a preliminary ruling last week.

Both sides in the case have until Dec. 12 to appeal the preliminary ruling, which essentially agrees with the local board’s denial.

Dumoulin, who owns three strip clubs and two bars in Kokomo, is seeking a new license for a bar at 1601 N. Davis Road, which Dumoulin is calling The Recovery Room.

To be located next to Dumoulin’s north side strip club, Big Daddy’s, The Recovery Room, Dumoulin said, would cater to the late night bar crowd, and would serve breakfast food and alcoholic beverages.

A group of opponents, led by Kokomo resident Linda Burris, protested against Dumoulin receiving another permit, citing Indiana Excise Police allegations of liquor license violations at two existing Dumoulin businesses.

In March, the local liquor board voted 4-0 against granting Dumoulin a new permit.

Last week, state alcohol board Commissioner Frank Guthrie declined to overturn the local board decision, saying the local board had “sufficient evidence” to deny the permit. Guthrie didn’t elaborate on his decision.

Under state law, the state board must uphold a majority decision by a local board unless the decision was made in an arbitrary or capricious, unconstitutional or unlawful manner.

The state board can also overturn a local decision if there isn’t sufficient evidence.

Guthrie said none of those factors seemed to impact the local decision.

Dumoulin’s troubles started last June, when state excise police began investigating a complaint of prostitution and drug use at Little Daddy’s, 1527 S. Home Ave.

According to a notice of violation filed by the state in December 2011, officers said they saw a dancer smoke marijuana in the main room of the bar, had another dancer offer them sexual favors, saw one dancer disappear into a private room with a patron for 30 minutes, saw a man being served who was so intoxicated he’d urinated on himself, and found used condoms in the bathroom and in the private room at Little Daddy’s. Dumoulin paid a $1,150 fine in February for that case.

In a separate investigation from October 2011, Dumoulin was cited for selling customers beer advertised as a premium brand, when in fact he was serving them Keystone Light, a budget brand. He paid $550 in fines to settle those allegations.

His most recent run-in with excise was in September, when the Grand Slam Pub (now renamed The Filling Station) was cited for allowing a minor to loiter and furnishing alcohol to a minor. That case is still pending.

Dumoulin said he won’t open The Recovery Room, which he described as a “breakfast and lunch” place, until he receives the beer and wine permit.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.