Boston’s liquor license process is dominated by one politically connected law firm, leaving restaurants that can’t afford such services dry, reports Boston Magazine in a scathing article that reads like a spec script for The Wire. Law firm McDermott, Quilty, and Miller has secured licenses for everyone from O Ya to the Franklin Southie to the forthcoming spot Noche, which got a 2am closing, despite being located in a very residential part of the South End. When the city released twenty new liquor licenses in 2006, two thirds went to McDermott, Quilty, and Miller clients. It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that the firm has made thousands of dollars of political contributions or that Miller’s name was in the news during the Dianne Wilkerson bribe scandal. When called for comment, Boston Licensing Board chair Daniel Pokaski said that he had not yet read the article but that, regardless of who’s representing them, “everyone gets treated the same in front of this board.”
Despite Pokaski’s protestations, the article does not paint the BLB in a flattering light, and it’s just the latest in a string of embarrassments for the Board. A May expose in the Herald revealed that the Board had overlooked everything from a doorman putting a customer in a chokehold to bar patrons’ credit cards being overcharged by hundreds of dollars. More recently, Board chair Daniel Pokaski commented that, despite four violent incidents in two months, he didn’t consider The Kells to be a trouble spot. No one expects a for-profit law firm to act in the most scrupulous manner possible, but a public board is quite another.
The Drinks Are On Them [Boston Magazine]