Council Member Introduces Bill to Regulate D.C. Party Promoters

News: Council Member Introduces Bill to Regulate D.C. Party Promoters
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Citing three nightclub events that ended in violence, D.C. Council member Jim Graham has proposed legislation that would require party promoters to be licensed through the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

While bars and nightclubs are regulated through the city’s alcohol board, no regulations exist to oversee actions of individual party promoters, who may not have any direct ties to the businesses where they throw events.

“Licensing promoters will give the ABC board the authority it needs to monitor promoters and to stop bad promoters from operating,” said Mr. Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, as he introduced the legislation Tuesday.

Under the new licensing proposal, promoters would be required to take training classes held by the city, maintain personal liability umbrella insurance with a minimum liability limit of $3 million, and pay a $250 license fee.

Mr. Graham cited two separate promoter-organized events in the District in which two men were killed and a third during which multiple people were stabbed and police officers were assaulted as his motivation for the initiative.

One of the incidents was the November 2011 fatal shooting of 34-year-old Jhonte Coleman outside the Heritage India restaurant in Dupont Circle.

Promoters Mel Productions had organized a late-night party at the restaurant, but the event had to be shut down after several fights broke out. The altercations turned into a deadly melee outside the restaurant, with Coleman killed and six others injured — either stabbed, shot or beaten.

In the aftermath of the violent outbreak, the restaurant faced sanctions from the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and was forced to close for a time. It was later allowed to reopen under the condition it stop allowing promoters to organize parties.

Council members Anita Bonds, at-large Democrat, and Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, cosponsored Mr. Graham’s bill. It was referred to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs.

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