By Andy Young
Operating an illegal bar and turning a blind eye to the sale and use of illegal drugs has seen two former Kings Cross operators banned for life from holding a liquor licence or managing any licensed venue.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice Troy Grant has welcomed the ban, which he said was among the harshest penalties available under the NSW Liquor Act.
“Our independent umpire is ensuring bad seeds are weeded out of the industry in an efficient and fair manner, making nights out safer for the community,” Grant said
“Most venue operators do the right thing and follow the rules and for the few that don’t, there is a strong independent regulator waiting to throw the book at them.”
The life bans came after complaints by Liquor & Gaming NSW against venue licensee David Lakepa and business owner Michael Amante to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) Board.
In February 2016, ILGA ordered Dreamgirls to close for six months after the venue was caught operating a clandestine upstairs bar where private strip shows were being performed, alcohol was being sold illegally and drug use and smoking were allowed.
In May 2016, Lakepa and Amante were convicted in the Downing Centre Local Court of operating a clandestine unlicensed bar, the pair were each fined $7,000 and ordered to pay $1,500 in legal costs.