Fast Fridays, Auburn Fair Boosters cited for selling to minorsBy: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
Fast Fridays Speedway and the Auburn Fair Boosters received sales to minors citations during a months-long countywide sting effort funded through a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control, the agency recently announced.
Placer County law enforcement agencies issued 27 sales to minor citations and also cited 15 people for purchasing alcohol and giving it to a minor, according to California ABC, which awarded a $99,760 grant to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office for the program.
The Auburn violations occurred on Sept. 7, according to the state agency, when the Gold Country Fair was in town and Fast Fridays held its track championship, youth national championship and extreme sidecars championship.
Several messages the Journal left with the Auburn Fair Boosters went unreturned.
Dave Joiner, owner of Fast Fridays, said the citations issued to two of his workers were due to a miscalculation and after his employees went through training, charges were dropped. It is the first infraction in the 16 years he has had a beer license there, he said.
“They did suspend the beer license for 10 days and put us on probation for a year that if anything happens – and they are fully entitled to come inspect us – if anything happens we could suffer a loss of our license,” Joiner said.
He said law enforcement sent minors to buy alcohol with IDs on Sept. 7 that showed they were underage, and he acknowledged two workers at the speedway had been issued citations after serving the decoys. One worker checked the ID, the other handed over the beer, he said.
“They do a very good job of checking IDs, and they did check these people’s IDs,” he said. “I think it was very close to calculating it where they would make an error (based on the person’s date of birth).”
All Fast Fridays employees then went through a seminar put on by Nor-Cal Beverage, Joiner said, and the district attorney dismissed the charges. He said an agent from the California ABC followed up with him in December, and “he was satisfied they checked it and just made a mistake.”
On Sept. 7, the minor decoys first went to the boosters’ booth in the middle of the fairgrounds, where two underage people were served by a pair of workers, and then the underage decoys went to the booth at the speedway arena, Joiner said.
A citation for selling alcohol to a minor comes with a maximum fine of $250 and the business where the sale happened is also subject to further discipline, according to the state agency.
During its sting operation that began in August and ran through December, officers used minor decoys as well as a “shoulder tap decoy,” during which a minor under supervision of an officer stands outside a business and asks patrons to buy them alcohol.
Joiner said that although the former is what caused the speedway employees to be cited, the latter is actually the bigger problem at events.
“It’s more of a ‘can you go buy me a beer,’ and people do it,” he said. “We’ve actually had people arrested or cited at Fast Fridays for doing that, because the Auburn Police Department has taken an approach of, ‘Let’s watch for this.’”
Jon Schultz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews