LOWELL -- Brian's Ivy Hall and Finn's Pub have been given what Licensing Commission members called an "unprecedented" approval to continue operating after its owner and manager of record, Kevin Hayhurst, abruptly resigned his managerial duties this week.
The troubled bars on Merrimack Street were under fire for past histories of fights, with the commission previously suspending the bars' licenses. Hayhurst was scheduled to appear at a commission hearing Thursday to hear complaints from the Police Department, but instead gave his resignation, effective immediately.
Another manager and minority owner, Eric Finn, was given a temporary approval by the commission to be listed as the bars' manager of record. He said he will apply to become the official manager -- which must be approved by the Licensing Commission and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission-- and plans to buy the establishments.
Commissioners stressed to Finn that he would be held responsible for any incidents at the establishments, which share the same building.
"I don't want this to turn into the Wild Wild West over there," commission Chairman John Descoteaux said. "It would be a really good idea to have a police presence there."
Commissioner Clifford Krieger said he wasn't happy with the situation but agreed to allow Finn to be the one ultimately responsible, at least temporarily, for the bars.
"We expect him to police the two establishments as if he was the manager of record," he said.
Hayhurst wrote to the Licensing Commission on Wednesday saying he would no longer play a role in Brian's Ivy Hall or Finn's Pub. Finn, who said he has a verbal agreement to buy the properties, also said Hayhurst will have no role.
Hayhurst is the president, treasurer, secretary and director of both companies that are listed as licensees for the two bars.
State law allows an establishment a reasonable amount of time to find a new manager of record in the event one leaves abruptly, said Elliott Veloso, an assistant city solicitor.
The Licensing Commission will meet next on July 17, when it is expected to consider an application by Finn to be the manager of record.
Hayhurst allegedly punched a Finn's Pub customer in an incident in March, a charge he denies. According to police, a 25-year-old man said he was sucker-punched by someone who another witness said was Hayhurst.
Hayhurst was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in an incident in May 2013 outside Finn's.
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