STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater could all lose their liquor license soon, should the State Liquor Authority have its way, according to a new report.
The State Liquor Authority (SLA) hit the legendary New York City institutions — all owned by James Dolan — with violations, after the properties used facial recognition several times over the past several months to ban attorneys who were in active litigation against Dolan and the properties, the New York Post reported. Among those who were banned was an attorney from Staten Island.
The SLA has since initiated proceedings against the venues, according to the Post, which was the first to break this story.
The media outlet noted that Dolan was previously told he had until March 15 to enter a formal plea in regard to the violations. Dolan has since filed a petition to stop the SLA’s enforcement of the violations. Dolan referred to the SLA’s enforcement as “harassment” in an interview with the Post.
The SLA’s argument for stripping the venues’ liquor license: Using facial recognition to enforce a ban on specific individuals may violate state rules. According to the Post, the SLA stated that venues with a liquor license means that they must be open to the “public at large”; a ban on certain individuals means the venues are no longer “open to the public.”
MSG instituted the ban on lawyers in June, targeting those representing people suing the company and every attorney at their respective firms, the Advance/SILive.com previously reported.
New York Attorney General Letitia James previously cited her own concerns with the policy of banning individuals using facial recognition technology, and said it “may violate the New York Civil Rights Law and other city, state, and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and retaliation for engaging in protected activity.”
STATEN ISLAND LAWYER BANNED IN NOVEMBER
Injury attorney Jonathan D’Agostino, of D’Agostino & Associates, said he was with family at the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular the day after Thanksgiving as part of an annual outing, when he was approached by staff inside Radio City Music Hall.
“I’m standing there, holding popcorn and a cotton candy while the rest of the family is in their seats, and [MSG staff] is escorting me to the sidewalk to ask me to leave,” he said last week. “My brother-in-law left with me, and we sat at a bar and restaurant watching TV while our families watched the show.”
The second-generation attorney, whose firm’s ads feature an angry Rottweiller and the phrase “Bite Back,” was banned from MSG venues because the firm is handling a 2018 case involving a person claiming they were injured in a fall at a concession area in the Garden.
Similar to other lawyers who have been escorted off MSG properties, he was identified by the venue using facial recognition technology: computer software that can identify hundreds of lawyers by instantaneously mining photos from the internet to produce suggested matches.
“It scared the hell out of me that this is where our country is at now,” D’Agostino said.
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