A neighborhood St. Patrick's Day party at an Alexandria condominium Friday night was broken up by state Alcohol Beverage Control Board agents who charged a woman at the door with selling liquor without a license.
The woman who faces criminal charges and possible penalties of up to a year in jail or a fine of up to $500 was collecting $1 per person from condominium residents for a St. Patrick's Day party organized by apartment owners in the Seasons Condominium at 5851 Quantrell St. According to an investigator, building residents said the money was to pay for a band.
Acting on an anonymous complaint, ABC investigators arrived and found liquor served and money collected, a combination that adds up to selling liquor without a license under Virginia law, according to Carl Hayden, assistant supervisor of investigation in the ABC enforcement division in Alexandria.
"I guess it could have been anybody in that association" collecting money at the door, said Hayden. "Whoever it was would have been arrested. You can't charge an association," he said.
Hayden said groups that organize functions such as the aborted St. Patrick's Day party the can comply with state law by obtaining a special $15 permit from the Alexandria ABC office. The office issues a large number or such permits weekly, said Hayden, who said he believes the requirement for a permit is well known.
ABC inspectors had no choice but to investigate the complaint that led them to the Seasons, he said. "If someone can complain to my office, they can also complain to my supervisor in Richmond," he said.