PITTSFIELD -- Operators of the Berkshire Softball Center face a possible stiff penalty involving its liquor license, if the facility's manager declines to appear before the city Licensing Board next month.
License holder Molly Montemagni was a no-show at Monday's board meeting to address plans to better monitor the fields in response to an incident last month involving an intoxicated man who was eventually arrested.
"We're getting the impression she's not taking this seriously," said board member Thomas Campoli. "If she continues not to show, I would be inclined to make a relatively severe decision."
The five-member panel had requested Montemagni, through her attorney Jeffrey Lynch, speak at the show-cause hearing continued from the September meeting. The board last month was surprised she wasn't present, a rarity for a show-cause proceeding, they said.
Lynch said, as he did on Sept. 30, his client's full-time job keeps her from appearing. The Pittsfield attorney also submitted a one-page statement from Montemagni saying the board can render a decision in her absence.
"I get the sense she prefers not to be here ... in part because she wasn't there the night of the [incident,]" he said.
Board members were taken aback by Montemagni's position and ordered she attend the November meeting.
"We're entitled to speak to the manager and we're not going to make a decision until we do," said acting Chairman Robert Quattrocchi.
"I want her standing there [at the podium] and tell me how to prevent the same situation next year," added member Richard Stockwell.
Stockwell was referring to the Sept. 3 incident at the city-owned softball complex on East Street during which a reportedly drunken softball player caused a disturbance and eventually was arrested by police.
At the initial hearing, Pittsfield Police Lt. Michael Grady said police had received an anonymous call on Sept. 3 concerning a player who was intoxicated and causing a disturbance on the field. Grady said investigators in plainclothes responded around 8 p.m. to assess the situation. They watched the man, who he said had been "kicked off the field by his own team," walk to a vehicle in the parking lot and return with an alcoholic drink in a can.
After observing the situation, officers confronted the man, displayed their badges, tried to calm him and get him to leave the field. The man "squared off with officers" and was subdued before being arrested.
Lynch had said the bar area does not allow a view of the fields, and although the operators do check the parking lot for "tailgate" drinking -- which is prohibited -- no one checked the fields during the 15- to 20-minute disturbance.
The man was not in the bar and wasn't served there, the attorney said.
He added that the operators have instituted rules, such as no alcohol being brought in coolers and no drinking in the dugouts, in an attempt to head off problems.
However, the board wants the operators, especially Montemagni, to take responsibility for what happens throughout the complex, which is closed for the season.
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