Gina Cook

DC Bar Fined $90K for Serving Cleaning Fluid, Security Issues

Trouble is brewing for an Adams Morgan bar.

D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ordered Heaven & Hell on 18th Street NW to pay a $90,000 fine and suspended its liquor license for 90 days.

Court documents say the owner of the club, Mehari Weldemariam, served a customer a Long Island iced tea with "chemical cleaning fluid" last November.

Weldemariam said it was an accident and he confused the cleaner for sour mix, according to documents. He said he called 911 and offered to call an ambulance for the patron.

The owner testified that he filled out a report about the poisoning incident, but didn't provide it to Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), the board said.

Four other claims against the bar stemmed from security issues on Aug. 17, 2018. ABRA says the bar illegally outsourced security to a third party, violating the terms of its security plan.

Two security guards are supposed to stand at the entrance to the club to check IDs, but ABRA investigators say they instead found two people at a table outside the club collecting money that night. No one was checking IDs.

The people at the table said they were not employees of the club and worked for a promoter. They each had open beer bottles on the table, which was outside the bar's property.

ABRA dismissed one open container charge and issued the club a warning for the second open container charge stemming from that incident.

Three charges for violating the bar's security plan, failing to maintain ownership and control and for the November poisoning each carried a minimum $30,000 fine and 30 day liquor license suspension.

Heaven & Hell's suspension begins on Nov. 1 and ends in late January.

The club must pay all fines within 60 days of the order.

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