One local business could lose its alcoholic beverage permits and another could have its permits suspended over allegations that employees served underage customers, including a man who later was charged in a fatal head-on collision.
Employees at He’s Not Here and La Residence, also known as La Rez, are accused of failing to check the ages of underage customers and selling alcoholic beverages to someone under age 21 in the July incident. The businesses’ managers also are cited with allowing multiple customers under age 21 to purchase alcohol.
The N.C. ABC Commission sent notices of the alleged violations Sept. 2, according to state records. The commission’s “offers in compromise” are a first step in settling the violations.
The proposed compromise for He’s Not would allow the bar to surrender its ABC permits on or before Nov. 6, records show. The bar would be able to apply for a new permit, ABC Commission spokeswoman Agnes Stevens said.
ABC staff then could issue a temporary alcohol permit or complete a pre-permitting investigation, Stevens said. The investigation, which involves local government officials, would conclude whether the location and the applicant are appropriate, she said. A rejected application can be appealed to the state Office of Administrative Hearings.
Permits can be revoked if a bar doesn’t surrender them voluntarily, Stevens said.
“If a permit is revoked, the permit holder cannot hold permits for that location or other locations for a period of three years,” she said.
The compromise offered to La Residence would suspend the restaurant’s permits for 50 days starting Nov. 13 or levy a $5,000 fine due by Nov. 6.
A business can take an offer in compromise or ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. An offer can change if the facts change, Stevens said.
Chandler Michael Kania, 20, of Asheboro, is accused of drinking at a party before buying more alcoholic beverages at La Rez and He’s Not Here, and then driving drunk in the wrong direction on Interstate 85. Kania’s Jeep Wrangler hit a Suzuki passenger car head-on, instantly killing three people in the car. A fourth passenger in the car – a 9-year-old girl – was seriously injured.
Investigators have said Kania’s blood-alcohol level the night of the accident was 0.17 – more than twice the state's legal limit for someone 21 and older – and that he had marijuana in his system.
Kania was found with an N.C. driver’s license in his wallet that belonged to a Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brother, records show. Investigators reported that Kania did not resemble the photograph on the driver’s license.
He is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, serious injury by motor vehicle, driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, possessing an open container of alcohol, possession of alcohol by a person under age 21 and driving by a person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol.
Kania is free on $1 million bail but under curfew and house arrest. He is no longer enrolled at UNC.
Chapel Hill police have responded to three alcohol-related incidents at He's Not Here and La Residence in the last 18 months. Both businesses also have faced the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission before, officials said. ABC Commission records show La Residence has settled four previous ABC violations dating back to 2004, and He’s Not Here settled one previous violation in 2014.
He's Not Here also has a separate violation pending that involves sales to underage buyers in April. The bar could have its permit suspended for 50 days or pay a $5,000 fine in that incident, officials said.
He’s Not general manager Fleming Fuller and La Rez owner Frances Gualtieri have declined to comment about the alleged violations. Civil lawsuits have been filed against both businesses, Kania and his parents for the wrongful deaths of two wreck victims.
Kania is scheduled to appear again Sept. 25 in Orange County District Court.