Rio Sports Bar & Grille Liquor License - Updates

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UPDATE: Aug 12, 2009
Just received this July 29, 2009 Prince George's County Liquor Board letter, which communicates in detail the Liquor Board's decision at their July 28, 2009 hearing, to transfer the Rio Sports Bar & Grille liquor license to the new owner, Mr. Yoon with all previously existing conditions and restrictions (as listed in the letter). At the July 28 hearing, the Liquor Board said it will schedule a hearing to review this license in no less than six months (i.e. no earlier than January 2010). Rio Sports Bar & Grille is still closed.

UPDATE: Aug 6, 2009
UPDATE: July 28, 2009 No More Need for Letters to Liquor Board:
At today's PG Liquor Board hearing, the Liquor Board voted to transfer the Rio license to Mr. Yoon with all current restrictions. The Liquor Board agreed to continue its current prohibition against using of the deck.

Much thanks from our community to these public officials who testified at the hearing:
  • PG County District 1 Councilman Dernoga (and aid Thacher) and by letter.
  • MD District 23/A Senator Peters (and for Delegates Levi & Hubbard) and by delegation letter
  • MD District 21 Senator Rosapepe (and for Delegates Frush, Pena-Melnyk, and Barnes) and by delegation letter.
  • By letter from City of Laurel Mayor Moe.
  • PG Police District VI Acting Comander & Community Response Team testimony regarding incident history at the Rio Sports Bar location before and after Rio opened in 2006 through present.
The Liquor Board decision included that there will be a hearing in six months to assess the overall status of Rio Sports Bar operations, review existing conditions, and consider any new conditions.
No More Need for Letters to Liquor Board

UPDATE: July 24, 2009 :
Thanks to Prince George's County District 1 Councilman Tom Dernoga for sending this letter today to the Liquor Board about Rio Sports Bar & Grille.

This is a reformatted example opposition letter which you can now print, fill-in the blanks, sign and then communicate to the Liquor Board -- and you can edit it.

Anyone communicating to the Liquor Board, please include your name and full address (street, city, state) so the Liquor Board can know you are a Prince George's county resident.
Please ask your friends who are Prince George's County registered voters to read this article at this easy to remember web address and then communicate their views no later than Monday July 27, 2009.

See fax, email and delivery address below -- it's too late for mail.

Need Letters & Petitions Opposing Rio Sports Bar Liquor License

Need You to attend Liquor Board Hearing 10 am Tues Jul 28

Testify or simply attend to be counted For or Opposed

The Liquor Board hearing room address is below.

As you may know, recently a new owner planned to reopen the violence/shooting plagued J's Cafe location with a new bar, Sweet Moon Grille, in Crystal Plaza (near the post office). The new owner ran a well-documented violent establishment in Arlington, VA, so residents, community associations, and churches in South Laurel and Beltsville protested with letters and petitions, resulting in withdrawal of that liquor license application, which forced the new owner to abandon the lease. (Sweet Moon Grill history)

Nearby Rio Sports Bar & Grille has been bought by Mr. Tak Yoon (believed to be associated with Rio Bravo in Langley Park and Galaxy II in Silver Spring), who plans to reopen Rio Sports Bar (which is closed for the past 6 months due to lawsuits among current owner Mr. Sung H. Lee and his partners). Mr. Tak Yoon has applied to have the current liquor license transfered to him from Mr. Sung H. Lee.

The Rio Sports Bar location has a long history of violence, shooting and violations (Dinosaurs, Club Amazon, Rio Sports Bar).

Please consider reading this example opposition letter (now revised so you can print, fill-in the blanks and sign it for fax or delivery -- you can also edit that letter file) and consider sending a letter to the Liquor Board expressing your own views. The example letter details specific existing restrictions (*) and requested new restrictions on that liquor license that many community representatives, including our elected representatives have agreed are necessary to try to ensue safe operation of Rio Sports Bar & Grille as a genuine "family friendly sit down restaurant" which the Liquor Board has already twice ordered be a condition on this license. Local representatives' letters are forthcoming. Please feel free to adopt, adapt, modify or ignore parts or all of the example letter, which is provided only as convenient information and inspiration for writing your own letter. (*) The existing restrictions are the restrictions that were requested by City of Laurel in this Sep 25, 2006 letter to the Liquor Board.

All correspondence or petitions must be received by the Liquor Board no later than NOON Monday July 27.

Prince Geoge's County
Board of License Commissioners - Liquor Board
Chairman Franklin D. Jackson
County Service Building
5012 Rhode Island Avenue - Room 204
Hyattsville, Maryland 20781
Phone: (301) 699-2770
Fax: (301) 985-3548

Letters can be sent by email, fax, or hand delivered, but petitions must be hand delivered, because we understand they need the original signatures. (too late for mail)

This opposition petition is circulating in the community. Feel free to use that form to collect signatures from Prince George's County residents who are registered to vote, because that is how the Liquor Board validates signatures.

Try to put at least 3 signatures on each page, preferably 5 -- not just one or two per page -- unless really unavoidable. This helps get all our petitions properly vetted by the Liquor Board.

Please turn in all petitions directly to the Liquor Board by Noon Monday July 27 or to a petition collector who can deliver them.

This is hard for people who work and have other obligations.

But this is one exercise in democracy which our local community has proven time and time again does work for us residents if we participate,

So, whatever your own views, please consider participating in every way that you can (letter, petition, attendance, testimony, or simply stand up at the hearing to be counted For or Opposed) because the prospects for good outcome improve with increased participation.