Liquor permit hearing set Thursday

WARREN – The building that held the former Sunset Lounge is being remade into a church. The liquor permit that let alcohol be served at the former troubled tavern cannot be used for the rest of this year.

But there’s still pending violations against the liquor permit holder, Blue Magoo’s Ventures LLC. A hearing on those violations is set for Thursday in Columbus at Ohio’s Liquor Control Commission.

The five violations against Blue Magoo’s, owned by Joseph Sankey Jr. – who has sold the East Market Street building to a church that’s expanding there – were the result of an August 2012 inspection by the Ohio Investigative Unit.

The violations include failure to notify the Division of Liquor Control of a change in ownership, that a felon had an interest in the liquor permit and that liquor had been purchased from an unauthorized dealer.

Sankey already has agreed that those charges are factually true, but not with the liquor control commission. Rather, his concession was part of an agreement with Warren, which continues to try to block the permit’s renewal, to close the bar after a man was shot and killed there during a New Year’s celebration.

It’s unclear what, if any impact that agreement will have on the pending charges. A message seeking comment was left with Sankey’s attorney, Gil Blair.

The remaining violations accuse Sankey of letting unauthorized people operate the bar.