The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) swooped down on Drunken Monkey Bar & Grill in the borough of Staten Island and pulled its liquor license because an investigation found that Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, a convicted felon, was the bar's silent owner. Big Ang is one of the stars of the Mob Wives reality show that appears on VH1. According to reports, she pleaded guilty in 2003 to a felony in a federal drug distribution case. That conviction bars her owning a bar without some form of special permission from the state. She never applied to be on the license, according to a State Liquor Authority official. Her cousin, SallyAnn Lombardi, is listed in public records as the liquor license holder. Nevertheless, Big Ang is listed as a signatory in a bank account affiliated with the bar, and she was given power of attorney over the place. During the investigation Big Ang admitted she hadn't filed taxes since 2008.
Ms. Lombardi told the SLA in a September interview that she was the bar's sole owner, but got into a car crash in 2009 and allowed Ms. Raiola to operate the bar thereafter, giving her signatory authority and power of attorney, according to the findings of the investigation. Ms. Lombardi said Ms. Raiola was on the bar's payroll until recently, but didn't cash many of her paychecks, and Ms. Raiola now manages the bar on Tuesdays and Fridays, for no pay, according to the probe's findings. The bar's website listed Ms. Raiola as a co-owner, Ms. Lombardi told the SLA, to help promote "Mob Wives," according to the findings. That ownership shuffle is considered "availing," a serious SLA offense, which means a liquor license holder has allowed a third party to use or profit from the license. The offense can often result in a revocation or cancellation of the license. On Feb. 10, the SLA ordered the Drunken Monkey's liquor license cancelled as of March 6. In addition to an availing charge, the bar was also hit with a "non bona fide" charge -- because it was serving food only two days a week, not five, as was originally listed on the liquor license -- and an "improper conduct" charge. The improper conduct charge also pertains to Ms. Raiola's business interest in the bar. On March 2, an attorney for Ms. Lombardi asked the SLA to reconsider the cancellation. The SLA denied that request. A revocation terminates a liquor license and bans the licensee from holding another license for two years. A cancellation, which is less serious, terminates the license, but doesn't ban the licensee from immediately applying for another one.Since its closure, the posted a statement online saying, in part, "The DRUNKEY MONKEY wasn't just a bar, it was a family and a home for many. It wasn't just a location, it was a lifestyle. We were the first to extend a helping hand and will continue to do so from Facebook and other social media. With that being said, the doors on Forest Avenue may be closed but our HEARTS will always remain OPEN to you!"
source: Staten Island Advance