Attorney William Ferullo and his client, Umbria Prime owner Frank DePasquale, however, did allow as how DePasquale failed to notify the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing about the "theme" night at which the models appeared, as required by the license that licensing chief Patricia Malone reminded them DePasquale signs for every year "under the pains and penalties of perjury."
At issue at a hearing yesterday was a "Wall Street" theme night the pricey downtown steakhouse held on March 24, as well as just what the models were up to as they hung around as part of a promotion for Svedka Vodka that night.
Boston Police Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey told Malone at a hearing yesterday that he arrived for an unscheduled inspection around 12:50 a.m. to find a gaggle of women clad only in "intimate attire" - which he defined as bras and panties under un-buttoned men's shirts - clustered around a booth posing for photos with male patrons.
But was it a floor show, the likes of which Umbria Prime's entertainment license do not allow? Mulvey agreed with Ferullo the women were neither singing nor dancing. "How do photos make this a floor show?" Ferullo asked. Mulvey replied men were not just going up to have their photos taken - they were also standing around just watching the women - just like you'd do at a show And while the women were not doing acting of the Shakespearean sort, they were acting "kind of seductive," Mulvey said.
Ferullo then attempted to rebut Mulvey's testimony that the women were clad inappropriately. "They had tights on," he said. Malone, however, said their attire was not the main issue - the lack of notification to her about the event and the use of somebody to hire the women and advertise the event were.
Because of past problems with special events at the restaurant, in 2009, Malone amended its entertainment license to require 72 hours notice to her of any "themed" events. DePasquale said he'd faithfully filed such notices for more than two years, never heard any objections about the events and so "I took it after 2 1/2 years that the probationary period was over for good."
Malone said DePasquale, a veteran Boston restaurateur, should know better than that; that if he wants to stop having to file notices, he needs to formally request a change in his license. Ferullo apologized for the oversight and said it would not happen again.
More contentious was the discussion over whether Green T Enterprises of Quincy, which arranged for the women, was a "promoter," which is an issue because Malone does not allow promoters to take over venues for a night.
DePasquale said Green T was not acting as a promoter - they did not take over the restaurant and did not take a cut of the night's receipts as a promoter would. DePasquale said he has a verbal agreement with the company's owner to do social-network marketing and advertising for the restaurant, and that he pays them a set amount for that work.
Malone questioned why DePasquale couldn't handle his own social-media advertising and why he felt the need to pay somebody else for marketing. "Why can't the licensee do his own advertising?" she asked.
DePasquale said nobody in his operation has the skills to properly market events on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Ferullo said the concept's no different than paying the Globe and Herald for ads - which Umbria Prime also does.
Malone will issue a ruling on the March 24 event within a month.