The Somerville Licensing Commission Wednesday night imposed sanctions on the Holiday Inn in response to a December fight outside the hotel's Night Games Lounge that culminated in shots being fired at a nearby gas station.
As part of a "joint recommended disposition," agreed upon between the city and the Holiday Inn, the lounge was found to have violated several Licensing Commission rules, including admitting too many people into the lounge, issuing "V.I.P" cards and letting a third-party promoter run an event.
As a result, the joint recommended disposition imposes a number of changes to the lounge's license. These changes apply to the lounge space in the hotel, not to the entire hotel, which has other restaurants and function spaces.
Sanctions include the following:
- The lounge must close by 12 a.m. Previously it closed at 2 a.m.
- The hotel may not seek to amend the 12 a.m.-decision for two years
- The hotel may not sell alcohol in its lounge for 30 days, beginning Jan. 24
- The lounge may not use the nearby entrance as a waiting area for patrons
- The lounge may not enter into contracts with third parties to sell alcohol without approval from the Licensing Commission
Joseph Ayoub, an attorney for the Holiday Inn, said the hotel stands by the disposition and that it plans to use the lounge space in the future only for private functions.
A number of aldermen, including Aldermen At-Large Dennis Sullivan, William White and Jack Connolly, and Ward 1 Alderman Maureen Bastardi, restated their frustrations with the hotel, which they say has caused problems in the past. They supported the sanctions.
A few people spoke up to support the Holiday Inn. Ray Zonghetti of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce said the Holiday Inn is an invaluable resource for the city's non-profit organizations, many of which host functions at the hotel. "They could not survive without the help of the Holiday Inn," he said.
"Personally, I think [the punishment] is a little excessive," he said.