HOPKINTON — By a unanimous vote late Monday night, the Town Council revoked the liquor license of the Boneyard Barbecue Restaurant and Saloon.
Sitting as the town's Licensing Board, the council heard evidence Monday in a show cause hearing on the suspension or revocation of the liquor license of ABK LLC, which does business as the Boneyard Barbecue Restaurant and Saloon.
The hearing, which lasted more than four hours, followed the arrest of Boneyard co-owner Patrick Kane on Aug. 23 on a charge of obstructing justice in the investigation of a fatal accident on Aug. 16 on the restaurant's property at 15A Frontier Road in Ashaway.
Prosecutors say Kane knowingly lied to police when they questioned him about an accident outside the restaurant that led to the death of 48-year old Derrick Payne Sr. Payne, who worked for the Hopkinton Department of Public Works, died after becoming trapped under a Jeep owned by Kane.
Acting as special counsel, attorney Michael Lynch presented the police case. Attorneys John Grasso, representing Kane in the obstruction case, and Christopher Maselli, representing ABK LLC, attempted to have the hearing continued, arguing that they had not received sufficient information to proceed, but council members voted to go ahead with the testimony.
As Payne’s friends and co-workers looked on, Lynch questioned Boneyard’s co-owner, Bill Beggs, and several police officers.
Lynch’s case hinged on two central arguments: that patrons were often over-served at the establishment, and that it was not uncommon for the bar to remain open past 1 a.m., its legal closing time. It was those two factors that led council members to decide to revoke Boneyard's license.
Grasso and Maselli argued that despite the police officers’ accounts of problems at Boneyard with intoxicated patrons and late closings, incidents were not always documented in reports and, therefore, did not give the owners an opportunity to address them.
Beggs said he worked at Boneyard three days a week, but spent most of his time at Boneyard’s other location in Seekonk, Mass.
Lynch asked Beggs if there was a policy prohibiting employees from drinking on the job.
“We have a handbook, but I’m not sure what’s in it,” Beggs replied.
Lynch asked Beggs if he was aware of an incident in May 2019 in which his partner, Kane, was found passed out on the floor of the establishment.
“Are you aware that Mr. Kane was the subject of a police call in which he was on the floor, passed out, with vomit over himself ... during business hours? ” he asked Beggs.
“Yes, I was aware of that,” Beggs replied, adding that he had driven to the restaurant that night to close up.
When Lynch called Kane, Grasso said he had instructed his client not to testify.
“He’s not going to answer any questions,” he told the council.
Testifying for the Hopkinton police, Patrolman Alexander Villanis recounted an incident in June 2018 in which a car crashed in a yard on Maxson Hill Road near Frontier Road, where the restaurant is located.
Villanis said the driver appeared to be highly intoxicated and became aggressive, punching him in the face. Maselli asked why, if Villanis believed the driver had come from Boneyard, he hadn’t reported the incident to Boneyard management.
“My client can’t properly defend itself because, number one, it was never notified, as the patrolman states, and number two, if any evidence suggests to support my client’s position, just because the person says he’s coming from there doesn’t mean he is.”
Other Hopkinton officers, Patrolman Albert Gaccione and Sgt. Jason Eastwood, recounted the frequent calls they had made to Boneyard before and after 1 a.m. to deal with intoxicated patrons. They also recalled meetings between police and Kane during which Kane said he would make certain the bar closed on time.
Detective John Forbes testified that the toxicology report showed that Payne was intoxicated at the time of death. Payne is believed to have been four-wheeling on the Boneyard driving range when the accident occurred, and police evidence indicates that he was accompanied by three other people in the Jeep when he died.