ND plays small role in bar raids
BY MATTHEW SMITH
Karen Bauer will never forget Jan. 30, 1998.
Neither will the underage students dancing and drinking in her bar that night.
The co-owner of Bridget McGuire's Filling Station watched police officers raid the bar and later confiscate her liquor license.
"They found minors that night, but my question is, `Where did all the fake
ID's come from?'" asked Bauer, who changed the bar into Molly McGuire's coffee house. "The technology is just too good."
Bauer is not sure why that particular night was chosen for the raid.But she has her suspicions.
She said she has heard rumors that other bars were jealous of Bridget's business and alerted police that underage people were being served alcohol.
She said she also heard that complaints came from a different source.
"I've heard there were two phone calls made that night requesting raids.
I've heard [the rumor] about Notre Dame being involved, but I really don't
know anything for certain."
Jeff Shoup, director of residence life, said Bridget's was well-known for serving people younger than 21.
"It didn't take a rocket scientist to know they were serving minors anyway," Shoup said. "But was it us who called Bridget's that night? No."
Chuck Hurley, of the Notre Dame security department, shed light on the
"On a few occasions, we have warned police that bars have
large numbers of underage drinkers," Hurley said. "That was the case with Bridget's."
As for the reason that night was chosen, Hurley said that the South Bend
police waited for a night when a large underage crowd was anticipated.
He also said that some rectors came to Bridget's in the weeks
before the raid. "They saw students they knew that were obviously
freshmen," he said.
At any rate, Bauer said she "will never sell liquor again," even though
she is currently in a legal process to get the establishment's liquor
A liquor licence often warrants a higher selling price in a city which is no longer issuing new liquor licenses, such as South Bend. They can go for around $30,000 in South Bend, but up to $100,000 in Mishawaka.
As part of the hearing to gain her license back, Bauer said that there is
a chance that "all the kids who were caught [drinking underage] might be
called back to court to prove that they had showed some form of ID to a
Regardless, the memory of Bridget's lives on in the minds of many Notre
Dame upperclassmen and alumni. "Every football weekend," Bauer said,
"drunk alumni come in and get mad at me when I tell them we're not a bar
The Irish Connection, or ICON, is a more recent example of a bar with
On Nov. 12, 1998, the bar was raided by South Bend police, and has never been the same. After inqueries by the police on different occasions, ICON also lost its liquor license.
Now it operates as a club without alcohol, catering to underage students.
Leon Townsend, ICON owner, said South Bend police have treated his bar unfairly, using a few fights on ICON property as an excuse to issue the establishment with "failure to keep a high and fine reputation."
Townsend said race came into play in the police department's choice of which bars to raid.
"When white guys owned this business a few years ago," he said, "their licenses were renewed without a problem. But when I became owner again, for Saturday nights I tried to attract a black crowd that used to go to V.I.P.[a club with a predominantly black crowd, that was shut down last year].
"A police officer came to me in October of last year, and told me that the
V.I.P. crowd could not start coming to ICON," Townsend added. "They came
anyways, and our bar was raided."
Finnigan's is another dance-oriented bar that has not many encounters from South Bend police.
"We are always worried about [trouble from the South bend police], but we
do our best to hire bouncers who check ID's well," said Dawn Kendall,
manager of Finnigan's.
She said that Finnigans' secret, which has allowed them to never get
raided, is to cater to an older crowd. Kendall said they do this by offering "college seniors only night," and other specials aimed at upperclassmen from the University.
However, Kendall sees trouble for bars in the future. "I think [getting
shut down] will happen to more bars. I've heard that they are really
cracking down. Who is `they?' Notre Dame."
"There are always rumors you hear about Notre Dame giving tips," she said.
Shoup handles many off-campus concerns. "We actually have a specific
path for that [underage drinking] information," he said. "If I hear about a
certain bar catering to an underage crowd, I tell Notre Dame security my
"Security are more friendly with South Bend police, and they talk to [the
police] as a courtesy," he added.
Hurley made it clear that the security department contacts South Bend police to get names of arrested students for the Univerity disciplinary department
contact with South Bend police is in getting names of arrested students for
the University's disciplinary department, Shoup's residence life. Hurley
said that only rarely does the department suggest that South Bend police
take a look at a certain bar.
After getting a list of arrested students from Hurley, Shoup meets with
these students, who are often the most helpful tipsters.
"Say you went to Finnigan's last night, and you got drunk, got in a fight,
and you got arrested," he said. "Then you would meet with me. Kids who got
busted give us our information most of the time."
Sometimes the police don't have plans to raid a bar, but something happens
there that brings the establishment to their attention.
"If there is a fight or stabbing in the vicinity, the police will find that the culprits
were in a certain bar minutes before a fight," Shoup said. "Then sometimes
they will raid the bar."
Shoup and his office play an active role in some off-campus activities,
including keeping a watch on off-campus student housing. "We have to
respond if we are having problems somewhere. If we hear intoxicated people
are getting mugged, we will call Lafayette security, for instance, and ask
them to be more aware of their surroundings."
Shoup recognized that some things are beyond Notre Dame's reach.
"Living in the real world [off-campus]," he said, "sometimes it's just `if you get in
trouble, you get in trouble.'"
All News Stories for Wednesday, September 29, 1999