Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan allegedly hired a private investigator to follow a state liquor authority investigator as the agency looks to revoke the Garden’s liquor license.
Several Dolan-owned properties were slapped with administrative charges after facial recognition technology was implemented to identify and deny entry to attorneys working on litigation against him.
The exclusion of some Garden-goers called for Charles Stravalle, a New York State Liquor Authority investigator and retired police captain, to determine whether MSG can continue to serve alcohol at Knicks and Rangers games, The New York Times reported.
Banning only some sports fanatics from entry may violate state beverage laws that require establishments to admit the general public.
According to the Times, Stravalle called the police after he was followed for over 100 miles by a black Chevrolet to his home in Queens.
After being trailed home, the driver of the Chevrolet remained camped outside with a camera pointed toward Stravalle’s house.
Police later pulled over the Chevrolet, who ended up being a private investigator.
MSG Entertainment acknowledged it had hired a private investigator to tail Stravalle, which it said was “a common and lawful practice,” according to court papers filed this week.
In addition to MSG, the SLA could also revoke liquor licenses for Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theater, also owned by Dolan.
In response to the four violations filed against him, Dolan filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court on March 11 asking a judge to halt the SLA offenses, calling the enforcement, “an abuse of power.”
“This gangster-like governmental organization has finally run up against an entity that won’t cower in the face of their outrageous abuses,” Dolan told The Post last week.
“While others that have been subject to this harassment may have been forced into submission or silence, we are taking a stand on behalf of our fans and the many small businesses who have long been subject to the SLA’s corruption.”
In the fiery 47-page filing, his corporate entity claimed the SLA’s “improper actions” were “an assault on not only MSG, but also all of its fans, who will be deprived of the full MSG experience if the SLA gets its way and strips MSG of its right to serve alcohol at its venues.”