Are NY Liquor Inspectors Boozing Extra on the Job?

By Bryan Le 07/02/13

Purchase records suggest state officials may be "investigating" liquor laws a little too heavily.

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When does "inspecting" cross the line into
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Are New York's State Liquor Authority inspectors enjoying their jobs a little too much? While investigating restaurants suspected of violating liquor laws, these officials are racking up quite a tab, according to newly released records of their purchases. The agents, who pose as regular patrons and often go in pairs in order to be seated, are supposed to order the least expensive item on the menu and limit themselves to one drink every 40 minutes. But records show one bill amounted to $73 at the Bowery Hotel for a glass of wine, a $14 drink of Veev Acai and two pasta entrees. Another $65 bill included a glass of red wine, a martini and two chicken entrees. And two agents in Long Island spent 54$ on six bud lights. An agency insider claims inspectors use the term “fucking the duck” to jokingly describe the technique of boozing on the taxpayer's dollar. “It seems like the employees are taking advantage of the need to enforce the law by enriching themselves with free food and drink beyond what’s required,” says Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union. In total, about ten NY inspectors have spent $3,481 while patronizing 35,000 suspect restaurants, clubs and bars over the past three years. But agency spokesman William Crowley argues that this is money well spent, and it's small change compared to the $246,750 in fines the agents have collected from violations.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter