Needless to say, there's plenty of drinking going on in New York. It is rare though for anyone to think about the red tape that had to be cut to get the booze to the customer. That is where the State Liquor Authority comes in and apparently the people that dole out permits want something in return for their services...besides a legal paycheck.
From The Gothamist:
While no arrests have been made yet, more details have emerged on the Inspector General's Wednesday raid on the State Liquor Authority's Harlem office, where some two dozen employees control 65 percent of the state’s operating licenses and permits for bars, restaurants and liquor stores in NYC, Long Island and Westchester County. Police sources say employees would not only accept cash bribes in exchange for expedited license processing, but also bottles of booze, and gift cards for meals and clothes—some payoffs even included Applebee's gift cards. Stay classy, SLA.[...]It just goes to show, no matter where in our state's government, corruption manifests itself like bacteria. All you have to do is add some fresh New York air and watch it multiply.
Some liquor license applicants report waits of almost a year for processing, while others managed to receive licensing withing two weeks. Investigators say "handlers" would steer applications to bribe-friendly employees, who would then push the application to the top of the deck. According to the AP, the agency's computer database lacked security, so any corrupt Applebee's-lover could log on and process applications. Investigators also say that some licenses were given without required criminal background or proof of citizenship checks. And the Times reminds everyone that this isn't the first time the SLA's been mired in corruption.