City Licensing Director Patricia Malone told the owners of the Point on Hanover Street near Faneuil Hall Marketplace that she's considering lifting their entertainment license because of an incident last month in which a bar manager allegedly punched out a Syracuse University fan - after three other incidents involving the same manager, at least one also involving him punching a patron.
At a hearing this morning, co-owner Howard Berger could not stop apologizing to Malone. He blamed himself for not firing the manager after any of the prior incidents, one of which also involved the man punching somebody out, said he had a close personal relationship with him and he just blew it. But this time, he said, enough was enough, he's fired the manager and he's hired Peter White, former owner and manager of, among other places, Warren Tavern in Charlestown, to run the Point and straighten things out.
"Our failure was a failure of the heart, not of the head," he said. "We made a terrible mistake."
But Malone said she wasn't buying this "four strikes and you're out" thing. She said her decisions on the past incidents were very specific and now, with four hearings on the bar, "obviously I want to take your license away from you." Malone has a month to file her decision.
According to police reports, the trouble started when the bar managed told some boisterious Syracuse fans - in town for the NCAA tourney - to settle down. They didn't, and 45 minutes later, he kicked them out. He then went outside, punched one of the fans in the face, went into the bar, came out and punched him again. The manager allegedly told police he was acting in self defense, that he went outside when he noticed the garrulous group menacing a doorman and that one of them went after him.
When police arrived on scene, officers told Malone, the manager fled and then his co-workers either denied the manager was on duty that night or said they didn't know where he was. At one point, workers gave a police sergeant a duty roster - from the day before. Det. Michael Talbot told Malone the man admitted in an interview at District A-1 to fleeing - to the Cape - after he realized he was losing his cool, but didn't realize police wanted to talk to him. At the end of the interview, however, Talbot said he had enough evidence to charge him with a criminal offense.