Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. has announced a lawsuit against the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Authority for threatening to ban the sale of alcohol on company premises.
The filing is the latest in an ongoing dispute between New York Knicks owner James Dolan and the SLA, which has been investigating MSG for banning lawyers involved in litigation against the company.
New York law stipulates that retail establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol must allow access to the general public.
However, MSG has steadfastly refused to allow rival lawyers onto company premises during the ongoing litigation.
“This gangster-like government organization has finally stumbled upon an entity that will not cringe from its outrageous abuses,” Dolan, who also owns the NHL’s Rangers, said in a statement. “While others who have been subjected to this harassment may have been forced into submission or silence, we are taking a stand on behalf of our fans and the many small businesses that have long been subject to SLA corruption.” .
New York Knicks owner James Dolan looks on against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
Fans walk past closed food stands before the game between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden.
The lawsuit has yet to be served on the SLA, the organization said in a statement Saturday: “As the agency has not been served on this lawsuit at this time, we cannot comment directly on it, but we stand ready to vigorously defend our processes.” , actions and dedicated staff.’
In February, the SLA charged MSG with four “adverse counsel policy” violations, which also drew the attention of New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is investigating the use of facial recognition technology to make comply with the policy.
MSG has until March 15 to respond to the SLA charges.
The company claims the SLA is misrepresenting its rules by requiring places that sell liquor to be open to the public, while nightclubs and bars have “much more exclusionary policies.”
In January, the usually media-shy Dolan addressed the controversy on Good Day New York.
“If you are suing us, we just ask that you not come until you are done with your argument with us, the end,” Dolan told Good Day New York. “And yes, we are using facial recognition to enforce that.”
When asked if he would retire from this position, Dolan emphatically replied: “Not at all.”
James’ interest in the case comes after the State Liquor Authority threatened MSG’s licence, prompting Dolan to directly attack the group’s chief executive, Sharif Kabir (right).
Dolan spoke to Good Day New York after James warned MSG that it may be violating anti-bias laws with its practice of barring lawyers from their offices if they work for firms suing the company. James’ interest in the case comes after the SLA threatened MSG’s license, prompting Dolan to directly attack the group’s chief executive, Sharif Kabir, during his Good Day New York interview in late January.
“They’re being extremely aggressive and saying ‘we’re going to take away your liquor license,'” Dolan said.
“So I have a little surprise…because they’re basically doing this for publicity, so we’re going to give it some publicity,” he continued, holding up a small flyer with a picture of Kabir and his contact information.
‘What we’re going to do right is pick a night, right? Maybe a Rangers game, and now we’re going to shut down all liquor and alcohol in the building.
‘This is not going to bother me because I’ve been sober for 29 years. I don’t need the liquor. But instead, what we’re going to do is where we serve liquor, we’re going to put up one of these, which says “if you’d like to drink a set, call, write Sharif Kabir, CEO or write or email him at this number …and tell him to stick to his weave.”
Stop bragging and trying to get press.
Kabir did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Dolan spoke to Good Day New York after the state’s Attorney General, Letitia James (pictured), warned MSG that it may be violating anti-bias laws with its practice of barring lawyers from their offices if they work for firms who are suing the company.
The attorney general’s office said in a letter to MSG Entertainment that the ban, and the company’s use of facial recognition technology to enforce it, may violate anti-discrimination laws and may deter lawyers from taking on cases. such as sexual harassment or employment discrimination claims against the company.
“MSG Entertainment cannot fight its legal battles on its own grounds,” James, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are world renowned venues and must treat all customers who have purchased tickets with fairness and respect.”
The lawyer ban came to light in October 2022 when attorney Larry Hutcher, a former New York Knicks season ticket holder, was told his seats had been revoked because his law firm represented scalpers. of tickets suing MSG. He filed a lawsuit in response.
Since then, other lawyers have filed stories about the blocking of concerts, sporting events and shows, including the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular.
The policy potentially affects thousands of lawyers at dozens of firms and is enforced through the use of technology that scans the faces of people entering MSG-owned venues and matches them against a database of lawyers from banned firms.