Vintage Golf Course owner faces $1,000 fine for alcohol infraction
by Bob Grawey
A clerk at Vintage Golf Course in Otsego failed a Wright County alcohol compliance check when he did not check the ID of a minor female May 24.
Owner Chris Bulow faces a $1,000 fine for the infraction.
However, he appeared before the Otsego City Council June 13 to appeal that fine.
Bulow told council members and city staff that the fine was too steep since Vintage does not sell that much alcohol to even cover the cost of the fine.
“We’ve sold maybe two cases of beer this year,” Bulow said. “It’s been a cold spring.”
The golf course owner asked the city council to consider reducing the fine, too, since it was the first alcohol compliance failure for Vintage Golf Course.
Bulow also owns Riverwood National Golf Course nearby and it has failed past alcohol compliance checks by the county.
Wright County Public Health Educator Jill Hylla is quite familiar with Bulow.
She claims he has a hard time taking responsibility for the failures, and is always seeking concessions when penalized.
Hylla also points out that his previous first-offense fine was $2,000 as prescribed by Otsego ordinance.
Otsego, though, has lowered that $2,000 penalty in its ordinance to $1,000 for first-time offenses.
According to Hylla, since Bulow claims he does not make much money from alcohol sales, he could opt to surrender the Vintage liquor license in favor of a special permit that would allow alcohol sales for things such as weddings and other events.
It would allow, Hylla says, Vintage to serve alcohol without needing to worry about failing the compliance checks since it would be done through a caterer.
The matter is being looked into further by Otsego, but at least one city council member is considering reducing the fine for future first-time failed compliances.
City Council Member Tom Darkenwald asked Bulow if he would prefer a five-day suspension or a $500 fine.
Bulow responded that he would prefer the suspension during winter months.