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James Alefantis isn’t blaming his lawyer, his accountant, or anyone else. He puts the blame for not renewing Comet Ping Pong‘sliquor license squarely on his shoulders. “I take full responsibility,” says the owner.
Alefantis hopes to be pouring beer and wine again later this week. Comet has already been dry since March 31, when the city issued a cease-and-desist order because Alefantis and his team didn’t renew their liquor license by that date. The owner suspects he’s lost about 20 percent of his usual revenues because of the snafu. (God only knows how much the wait staff has lost in tips as Comet continues to give away free soft drinks and juices.)
Alefantis is losing money elsewhere, too. He has to pay a $50-a-day late fee for each day that passes after March 31. Counting today, Alefantis is up to $1,000 in late fees. So given the mounting fees, why has he delayed the renewal process?
Alefantis says that renewing his liquor license isn’t simply a matter of going down to the city and paying fees. He needs to have a lot of paperwork in place, and both his lawyer and his accountant have been busy with other matters like, you know, April 15 tax filings. They’re just getting to it now.
Among the paperwork required, says a spokeswoman with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, are tax documents, businesses licenses, and even a copy of your lease, if pertinent. Many of the documents are to show that you’re not in arrears with the city.
Alefantis says cash flow is not the issue here. “It’s not a money issue at all,” he says. “It’s a filing issue.”
The Comet owner hopes to have all the necessary paperwork in place for the city this week. If approved by the city, Comet could be back selling beer and wine within 24 hours to a week after the pizzeria files for the renewal.