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Theater District clubs given 10 days to figure out what to do about college kids with fake IDs

The alcohol-infused straw that broke the camel's back was a 19-year-old Babson student with fake Nigerian and Indian driver's licenses and a photocopy of a Photoshopped British passport whom BPD detectives found with a shot of tequila in her hand inside Venu around 1:30 a.m. on March 4.

The Boston Licensing Board this morning held two hearings on the Paga, Inc. club complex at 100 Warrenton Street: One on the March 4 incident, another to determine whether the board should role back its hours - or take other actions - related to a string of violations, most involving underage drinkers, dating to 2014.

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini agreed to give the owners 10 days to come up with a plan to deal with the ongoing problems.

Last June, the board ordered Icon shut for five days for an incident in which a Tufts freshman fell to his death from a nearby parking garage after a night of drinking at the club, then upped that to a year after hearing about other underage drinking incidents.

In January, the board ordered Icon shut indefinitely following a hearing on two incidents involving four underage drinkers at the club. Venu got hit with a seven-day suspension over a September back-to-school "champagne war" in which patrons were given bottles of cheap champagne to spray each other with. Pulgini cited other incidents in 2015 and 2014.

The clubs have remained open while owners appeal the suspension orders to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

BPD Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey acknowledged that underage drinkers with fake IDs are a problem across the city and prove especially vexing in a city with such a large population of foreign students and visitors, whose IDs can be unfamiliar to even the most experienced of door staff. But he said 100 Warrenton St. seems to be an ongoing destination for large numbers of pre-legal drink seekers and that they keep getting in.

"Other clubs don't have this level of violations," he said.

Club managers and owners, though, said they have wracked their brains trying to tamp down problems and still remain in business. Co-owner Felix Paige said Paga clubs have been valued members of the community for more than 40 years, hosting everybody from Roger Clemens in his Red Sox days to Jay Leno. He said it's unfair to blame the clubs for the ease with which kids can get fake IDs. "The only thing that has changed on the street is that now kids can get in with [such good fake IDs], Jesus Christ, who can tell the difference?"

Paga manager William Robinson said his staff bars up to 100 people a night with fake IDs and said many of them go to neighboring bars - where they sometimes taunt Paga door staff by texting them that they got in somewhere else. In January, Robinson told the board he had ordered his staff to bar anybody who tried to use a Venezuelan ID.

Paga owners and managers said their security officers help clear the Theater District on weekend nights - and will break up fights among exiting patrons from other nearby clubs. They added Paga pays $6,500 a month towards the cost of having eight Boston cops patrol the Theater District at closing on weekends - and that other facilities are refusing to help bear the cost of that.

Mulvey, who suggested blocking the clubs from offering table service, though, was not sympathetic. He said that on nights when the department can't find volunteer officers to work the overtime details, A-1 sometimes has to assign regular patrol cops to the area, which he said takes away protection from the rapidly growing residential streets downtown.

And he returned to his argument that the Paga clubs just seem to attract more trouble. "What we like is self-policing nightclubs that don't require babysitting by Boston Police," he said. "They exist."

Pulgini agreed to a request by Paga to give them ten days to try to come up with a plan for combatting the problem, rather than having the board vote on any action at a meeting on Thursday. "We don't want to have to [take more measures]," she said. "We just want the area to be a safe area."

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Comments

College aged 'kids' drinking alcohol in a night club!!!

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If you are caught with a fake id then you should have your driver's license revoked.

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If you are caught with a driver's license you should have your fake id revoked.

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If you are caught with a fake id then you should have your driver's license revoked.

I'm all for punishing the use of fake IDs, but why specifically revoking a driving license as opposed to, say, fine or imprisonment, since the crime has nothing to do with driving?

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There isn't enough room in prisons for people convicted of violent crimes -- you think a 20yr. old college student should be thrown in jail for a fake id?

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Do you really think drivers' licenses should be suspended for crimes that have nothing to do with driving?

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if the person doesn't drive they shouldn't be punished

did you think any of this through? no? just really mad at fake IDs?

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did you think any of this through? no? just really mad at fake IDs?

"Nobody knew that thinking things through would be so hard."

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Did you really think your comment through? You just really mad at people sick and tired of local businesses getting fined because of rich little twerps with fake ids?

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Gonna be tough for a foreign student at BU. How is he gonna get around?

:)

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... considering that a growing percentage of the current crop of 19 and 20 year olds don't have drivers licenses.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/the-decline-of-th...

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We're talking about college kids trying to have some Bud Lights, not a con man stealing peoples' identities to defraud them of their life savings.

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i remember being in my young 20s dating BU women from abroad that were used to being adults in their respective countries and seeing some of the reaaaallllyy sad fakes they got away with using

we're talking photocopies with the quality that your 2nd grade math teacher would balk at

but uh, honestly, these clubs/bars are in a really, really unfortunate position of having to enforce a silly law in a country with a dozen dozens worth of valid IDs. i find it to be an unenviable task, but alas, one they agreed to when opening their business.

except the ones that opened their business before this 21+ mumbo jumbo, i suppose.

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Into figuring out ways to discipline both the bars/clubs and 19 & 20 year old college students drinking is ridiculous. Drinking age is ridiculous - how half of college students can drink legally when the other half can't.

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I agree the laws are asinine but they are still enforceable. The state should make it easy (free) to get a valid drinking ID for foreigners. Otherwise, don't serve the kids with photocopies and foreign IDs that aren't valid passports.

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Safer walking along Boston Theatre District, Chinatown, Tufts Medical Center streets can be possible with better Street Design
http://ur1.ca/qtr9d
google.com/search?q="street+design"&tbm=isch

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Instead of slapping these students on the wrist. Make the punishment more than a misdemeanor. Attach a serious fine or even make it a felony.. Young people would think twice. These students are laughing at the city and most times are out with a new id the following night... For the most part establishments are doing their jobs. Its time for the city to step up and stop punishing the establishments that bring in tax $$$

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Police the problems while making the same age you can go and die in war the same age you can drink.

21 is such an arbitrary age, especially with how we structure education and other civics duties.

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That Canada, New Zealand, and Australia (car cultures, all) have very similar rates of drunk driving despite lower drinking ages.

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Ruin a kids life with a felony conviction over a couple watered down beers and too sweet cocktails.

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Or just keep punishing the guy paying 20k a month in meals tax and another $72k a year to the Boston Police for details and provides jobs for local college students... Yaaa.... oh the poor college kid that just wanted to have fun...

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you know what will solve the "alcohol problem"?

hmmm....i've got it, prohibition! god damn the world must seem so simple to you

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"Other clubs don't have this level of violations," he said.

Other clubs probably keep up their donations to city politicians, civics groups, and police brotherhoods I'm guessing.

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When the doorman refuses to let in a young lady or gentleman from Africa or the middle east because they have identification that the doorman deems to be fake.

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Oh, they might face a lawsuit, but they'll win, because of the state law on IDs.

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Actually, the state law on IDs treats foreign passports the same as Mass IDs.

http://www.mass.gov/abcc/pdf/idlawchange_with_id_pix.pdf

Now, if it's obviously fake, that's another story.

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I still don't understand how the club can be held responsible for fake IDs. As long as they are in fact demanding to see ID, and the ID looks reasonable, they should be off the hook.

But really, the drinking age should just be lowered.

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They checked, but they maybe didn't do a good enough job of it.

Under state law, a club or bar can only be held harmless if the ID is a Mass. license or ID, a military ID or a US passport. Establishments can accept other IDs, but it's a risk if they turn out to be fake or belong to somebody else.

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The list has changed:

As a result, beginning October 29, 2012, alcoholic beverages licensees may reasonably rely on the following forms of identification for proof of age:

1. A Massachusetts Driver’s License;
2. A Massachusetts Liquor Identification Card;
3. A Massachusetts Identification Card;
4. A Passport Issued by the United States or a government that is officially recognized by the United States;
5. A Passport Card for a Passport issued by the United States; and
6. A Military Identification Card.

Funny that a US Green Card isn't covered when it's as secure as the others and a holder doesn't need to carry his/her passport when carrying the GC.

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Problem solved.

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I don't want to grab a beer with a bunch of 18 year olds after long day at work... furthermore, if 18 becomes legal, then the 16 and 17 year old kids will be the ones trying to get in bars with fake ids.

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You can move to one of the five or six other countries that have such a ridiculously high drinking age.

Meanwhile, the US has serious binge drinking problems and wastes enormous amounts of time creating and policing a special class of adults subject to extreme prohibition.

This is about public policy, not your snowflake sensitivities.

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Ask them where they were when they found out about 9/11

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Well, a 21-year old would have been 4 years old. Not helpful.

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I was five years old. I had just met my kindergarten teacher. My dad wanted coffee after and we were in the Dunkin Donuts and the TVs were showing planes crashing into the buildings over and over again.

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Free ID programs for folks who can't pay fees should be available for Veterans including free Birth Certificate programs to get a free ID.

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Nobody worked the club door like the legendary Steve Rubell of Studio 54 (not Mike Myers, I mean the REAL Steve Rubell. But then again, no club will ever even come close to Studio 54. I hope these shit hole clubs end up on the shit hole and their patrons taken away by ICE.

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How to arrange to read the Minutes, etc... send to email licensingboard at boston.gov something like, or a better worded, "By email please send a) WebLink(s) with b) Minutes, c) Stenographic Record, d) audio, e) video of the most recent Public Meeting of Boston Licensing Board or by email send Minutes, Stenographic Record, audio, video of the most recent Public Meeting of Boston Licensing Board."

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