Abusive and Irrational Charges Brought by the SLA Threaten Fans’ Ability To Consume Beer and Alcohol At MSG, The Theater At MSG, Radio City Music Hall, and Beacon Theatre
LAWSUIT DETAILS STATE AGENCY’S OVERREACH AND SORDID HISTORY
New York, NY (March 11, 2023) –Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (“MSG Entertainment”) today filed an Article 78 petition and demand for an injunction against the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) in response to the SLA’s irrational abuse of its authority in filing pretextual charges against MSG Entertainment in connection with its adverse attorney policy. The SLA’s actions are the latest in a long and sordid history of similar abuses.
“This gangster-like governmental organization has finally run up against an entity that won’t cower in the face of their outrageous abuses,” said James Dolan, Executive Chairman and CEO, MSG Entertainment. “While others that have been subject to this harassment may have been forced into submission or silence, we are taking a stand on behalf of our fans and the many small businesses who have long been subject to the SLA’s corruption.”
To bring charges against MSG Entertainment outside the scope of the SLA’s authority is outrageous. The SLA’s threats to revoke the liquor licenses at all MSG Entertainment’s New York venues – The Garden, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre – is a direct assault on the millions of fans who attend events at these venues each year by threatening their ability to consume beer and wine at all MSG Entertainment events.
MSG Entertainment’s petition details that the SLA is:
- Operating outside its powers – the SLA’s mandate is “fostering and promoting temperance” in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The idea that MSG Entertainment’s policy regarding attorneys pursuing active litigation against the Company is within that mandate is absurd. The policy has nothing to do with the alcohol distribution, and certainly has no impact on underage drinking, or alcohol-related violence.
- Misinterpreting its own rule that venues with a liquor license must be “open to the public” – the SLA’s charges assert that as a result of the Company’s adverse attorney policy, MSG Entertainment’s venues are not “open to the public.” Not only does the SLA not have any laws or rules about being “open to the public,” the policy itself excludes only a tiny fraction of our venues’ five million annual visitors.
- Exercising its authority in an arbitrary, capricious, and irrational manner – the SLA cannot legally single MSG Entertainment out when many night clubs and private clubs have far more exclusionary policies. Those clubs’ liquor licenses are not under siege. The law doesn’t permit this sort of selective and malicious prosecution.
The lawsuit is linked here.