Today is the day of reckoning for notorious Adams Morgan blues bar Madams Organ and its equally notorious owner, Bill Duggan. As Marc Fisher reports, D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will meet today to decide the fate of the bar’s liquor license, a ruling that will rest upon the story of a couple wandering hands.
According to Fisher:
The story began late one night in June of 2007, when an Arlington woman was sitting at the Madam’s bar with her boyfriend. Suddenly, she felt someone reach over and grab her side near her waist.
“Stop that,” the woman said, “you can’t touch me.” She told her boyfriend what had happened, and before she knew it, the unknown man had touched her again.
According to testimony in the Superior Court case that grew out of the incident, the woman asked a bartender to intercede and was told that “they did not see anything happen and they were not going to kick him out and that we should all make friends.” The woman and her boyfriend didn’t like that solution, so they left. Outside, they found a D.C. police officer, who then accompanied the couple back inside the bar so they could point out the man who had committed the improper touching.
That’s when the bar staff allegedly involved itself in some improper behavior of its own. When D.C. police arrested the patron, they noted that the “bar’s bouncer claimed that the offending patron had already been kicked out of the premises, which he had not.” Today, the ABC board will decide whether that amounts to “willful deception,” or the bar being used for “an unlawful or disorderly purpose”—-and whether that means Madams should be stripped of its license.
Duggan, of course, is calling the whole thing “totally absurd”—-“A guy touching a woman on her thigh or hip in a bar—somehow, I don’t think that’s the first time that’s happened in a bar,” he told Fisher. But will the ABC board agree that one grabby bar patron isn’t enough to sink the estimable Organ?