Los Imperios in West Hartford Has Liquor Permit Suspended Indefinitely

Los Imperios (Facebook photo)

The Connecticut Liquor Control Commission suspended the liquor permit for Los Imperios, located at 904 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford, on Sept. 8, 2016.

Los Imperios (Facebook photo)

Los Imperios (Facebook photo)

By Ronni Newton

Los Imperios is prohibited from selling beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages beginning Sept. 8, 2016, and the temporary suspension issued Thursday by the Connecticut Liquor Control Commission will remain in effect at least until a hearing is held.

According to the Liquor Control Commission, the suspension has been imposed “pursuant to Section 4-182(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes.”

No date has been set for that hearing, but it is anticipated that it will be held “within a reasonable amount of time,” West Hartford Police said.

According to West Hartford Police, Los Imperios will be allowed to remain open as a restaurant, as long as there are no sales of wine, beer, or liquor. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the premises, and BYOB will not be an option, according to the terms of the suspension.

“In response to the recent shooting at the Los Imperios restaurant on Farmington Ave. Chief Tracey Gove took the unusual step of requesting a summary suspension through the Department of Consumer Protection,” Lt. Eric Rocheleau said in an email.

A joint letter from Gove and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor, dated Sept. 6, 2016, has been provided in its entirety in PDF form below and details incidents of non-compliance and disturbances that have been taking place for nearly two years – 11 fights and assaults and 39 disturbances. The request to have the liquor permit suspended “is to ensure the safety of customers and neighbors alike,” Rocheleau said.

In closing the letter, Gove and Cantor wrote: “Los Imperios is creating a true public safety threat to its patrons and to the residents of West Hartford. Besides the direct threat that gunfire in a densely populated area represents, every indication we have is that the problems will not only continue at this location, but get worse unless something is done immediately to correct the problem. Based on all of the above, the Town requests that the liquor license for Los Imperios be immediately suspended until such time as a plan can be developed to ensure the safety of the patrons and the community.” The Department of Consumer Protection took that action Thursday.

“The town is willing to work with [owner Mr. Ernesto] Leon to develop a safety plan and so that the business can operate within the town code; as a bar and restaurant not a nightclub. The WHPD will continue to monitor for compliance during the suspension,” Rocheleau said in his email.

The Town of West Hartford is also in the process of seeking an injunction against Los Imperios for violations of zoning ordinances as well as liquor violations. The Town is scheduled to submit a brief to the court supporting its position next week.

The most recent incident involving Los Imperios was a shooting that took place early Saturday morning on Farmington Avenue. According to the police investigation, the shooting followed a disturbance that began inside Los Imperios and spilled out onto the street. At least 13 rounds from a 9 millimeter handgun were fired at an automobile, police said. Police are still investigating, and ask that anyone with information contact West Hartford Police Det. Sgt. Anthony Anderle at 860-570-8873.

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