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TUESDAY, AUG. 21 — A southside watering hole is likely to stay closed after state regulators revoked its liquor license amid a growing number of complaints from the Lansing Police Department. And the owner said he plans to accept the defeat.
“This whole thing is just too much for me,” said Love Singh, the owner of Binni’s Bar and Grill, 820 W. Miller Road.
Michigan’s Liquor Control Commission today revoked the bar’s conditional liquor license after the Lansing City Council urged state officials last month to shut the place down. Staff at the “nuisance” of a bar simply hadn’t done enough to prevent continued crime inside, Police Chief Michael Yankowski said.
Authorities tracked nearly 50 calls for service at the bar since 2016. A shooting was reported there on New Year’s Day. Another incident in March left a man with a bullet in his leg. Other 911 calls included robbery, assault and ethnic intimidation. The bar has also faced multiple, unrelated liquor violations, according to police reports.
Singh was asked to appear today to defend his business, but neither he nor his lawyer decided to attend. Attorney G. Sal Gani said he was aware of the hearing but skipped it because nobody had hired him for the case.
“I am absolutely stunned given the magnitude of the issues clearly demonstrated here by the Police Department that neither the licensee nor the attorney for the licensee have appeared here today,” added Commissioner Teri Quimby, before voting to revoke one of two liquor licenses registered to the bar’s address.
Singh said he assumed ownership of the business in April at his father’s request. State records show a previous liquor license for Manjit Singh was placed into escrow before Love Singh was given approval for his now-defunct conditional liquor license and related permits. A decision to revoke his father’s license was tabled.
Commissioners suggested Manjit Singh, the original registrant of the escrowed license, might not have been properly notified of this week’s hearing. Love Singh said the technicality ultimately won’t impact the future of the family business. Nobody — including his father — plans to reopen the doors anyway. It’s over, he said.
“I just don’t like to keep fighting about things,” Love Singh added. “ I just wanted to start a business.”
Singh previously voiced plans to push back against the recommendation and contended city officials had some sort of vendetta against the family business. He acknowledged his father had “some mishaps” in the past but argued officials had no reason not to give him a chance. He promised to make changes to address the concerns.
A proposal to reduce business hours and replace rap music with “Spanish music nights” was sent to city officials to help ease their complaints. The planned changes were designed to discourage raucous crowds of “out of town” patrons and help reduce neighborhood disturbances under new ownership, Gani wrote in the letter.
Yankowski, however, still wasn’t convinced. Patrons have been able to sneak weapons past bouncers, customers have been harassed and neighbors have grown weary of the large crowds that have gathered there in recent years. He wrote another letter to then City Council to double down on his recommendation to revoke both licenses.
“As Chief of Police, it's my job to ensure that our police department maintains order, preserves public safety and fosters a better quality of life for those who live, work and visit the Capital City,” Yankowski wrote in the letter.
Calls to Manjit Singh were not returned for this story. A hearing for his escrowed license has not been scheduled. Gani declined to elaborate on the case. Commission Chairman Andrew Deloney said Love Singh could possibly ask for another review of the revocation or appeal the recent decision by filing a lawsuit in Inghm County 30th Circuit Court.
The bar remained closed on Tuesday, and Love Singh said local residents shouldn’t expect to see that change.