Madison Square Garden owner accused of having PI follow state liquor inspector 100 miles
Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan is accused of hiring a private detective to follow a liquor board inspector 100 miles amid a bitter row over state liquor laws.
Dolan, who has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, introduced facial recognition software into his arena to identify and ban lawyers working to prosecute him.
The bizarre tactic prompted the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to launch an investigation into whether he violated state laws requiring establishments to serve the general public. After learning of the investigation, Dolan reportedly identified the authority’s inspector, Charles Stravalle, and ordered a private detective to follow him home.
Dolan’s alleged swashbuckling tactics are the latest in a series of run-ins with the liquor authority that could jeopardize the tycoon’s ambitions to build a sprawling $2.2 billion entertainment venue. dollars in Las Vegas.
The episode marked Dolan’s apparent desire to retaliate against liquor authority investigations, including one into his beleaguered Lavo nightclub – the sale of which is key to his Las Vegas construction business.
MSG Entertainment denied that Stravalle’s tail was linked to the sale of the nightclub when contacted by DailyMail.com, despite the fact that the inspector had already probed the Manhattan hotspot last month.
James Dolan, pictured, allegedly ordered a PI to follow a state liquor license commission inspector amid a bitter liquor licensing row
Dolan, owner of Madison Square Garden, pictured, has been locked in a bitter row with ALS over renewing the arena’s liquor license
Dolan’s company, MSG Entertainment, admitted to hiring the private eye, but defended the tactic as “common and legal practice”.
Stravalle says he realized he was being followed for about 100 miles by a black Chevrolet after spotting the vehicle on his back all day earlier this month.
Spotting the same car camped outside his home in Queens again and seeing the driver pointing a camera at him, Stravalle called the police.
Dolan’s rivalry with the State Liquor Authority inspector reportedly erupted in February after Stravalle was assigned to investigate Dolan’s Manhattan hotspot, Lavo, following an incident that saw a reveler slashed at the face.
Following an inspection, Stravalle uncovered more than 30 infractions, including unauthorized fireworks over a meat slicer covered in “old food,” according to The New York Times.
The potentially incriminating findings came as the nightclub, which is owned by MSG Entertainment’s Tao Group, is trying to be sold by Dolan as he attempts to auction off the subsidiary to fund his Vegas megastructure.
But his clash with Stravalle comes amid a year-long rivalry with the liquor board that has also seen Dolan publicly mock the body as party poopers who aim to deprive sports fans of beer.
Along with his management of Madison Square Garden and many establishments across New York, Dolan’s company also owns the Knicks and Rangers.
Its signature arena’s license to operate a sports arena in New York expires in July, and Dolan’s attempts to permanently renew the license have reportedly been the subject of fierce debate within the licensing authority.
Simultaneously, the New York State Senate is also seeking the garden’s $43 million per year property tax exemption.
James Dolan, right, is the CEO of MSG Entertainment, which also owns the Knicks and Rangers sports teams
The alleged tailing of Stravalle came shortly after the ALS inspector probed Dolan’s Manhattan nightclub, Lavo. His company MSG Entertainment denied the move had anything to do with the nightclub
With Dolan under mounting pressure, he installed facial recognition software, a move he defended, and banned several attorneys after they claimed they worked for the state agency to have the license revoked. arena liquor.
In a contentious petition filed in Manhattan Supreme Court this month, Dolan’s company reportedly asked a judge to halt the authority’s investigations into his relationships and said it was a “gangster-like government organization”.
And in a statement to DailyMail.com, MSG co-lawyer Jim Walden of Walden Macht & Haran said: “MSG didn’t start this.” What is happening at ALS is simply inappropriate – it is bureaucracy out of control.
“We found credible evidence of actual collusion, with the SLA armed to auction off the plantiffs’ lawyers.”
“Now ALS is blocking our efforts to get all the evidence. We will expose ALC’s misconduct through the legal tools we have to defend MSG.
Noting Stravalle’s crusade against Dolan, the filing also alleges that he launched a “campaign of harassment against MSG.”
“Stravalle spent nearly half the time asking questions that had no conceivable relationship to the alleged purpose of the SLA investigation,” the filing reads, referring to a recent interview the former cop had with Dolan.
“Instead, he asked questions based on speculative media reports or shared his own opinions on the sites’ politics. He was combative and antagonistic throughout the interview.
Dolan’s use of facial recognition software to ban his legal opponents from Madison Square Garden came as his feud with the liquor board escalated.
But he defended the tactic in an interview with Good Day New York in January, saying: “If you’re suing us, we’re just asking you not to come until you’re done arguing with us – the end .
“And yes, we use facial recognition to enforce that.”