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City councilor claims site of homicide should have been closed

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

A city bar is going to be out of commission for a couple weeks, as a murder inside of it is just the latest in a string of incidents at Ducks Place on State Street.

As police look for the killer, a city councilor said the whole thing may have been avoidable.

"When they came in front of us, they were billed more as a family restaurant and not as a bar," said City Councilor John Lysak. "So, I wanted to take a look at their permit and see if they were open past hours and what not."

When Lysak took that look, he said he discovered Duck's Place never officially paid for or possessed their special permit papers, which is required after a building has been vacant for an extended period of time.

Thursday night, Duck's Place turned over its liquor license following the city's 12th homicide early that morning, as well as another incident involving an employee pulling a gun on a patron.

"The problem is none of these things would have happened if they weren't open in the first place," said Lysak. "Because they didn't have the special permit in hand, they should have never been allowed to open."

The city's license commission said they did everything by the book. It all started on Dec. 10, 2012, when the city council granted Duck's Place the special permit.

"At that point what happens, my office, which issues the alcohol license, would issue the license based on the granting of the special permit of the city council," said Alesia Days, the city's director of licensing.

Days told CBS 3 that her department does not wait for a fee to be paid before the license is released.

"Once we receive notification that it has been approved by city council, we go through our process and a license is issued at that time," Days stated.

That being the case, Lysak believes things were not done properly.

"When they came in front of the license commission, they should have known they didn't have a special permit," said Lysak. "I don't know who dropped the ball, but somebody did and I'm planning on finding out who."

Late Friday afternoon, City Solicitor Ed Pikula responded to Lysak's claims.

He said actual payment for a special permit is an act that does not involve discretion and it could be paid at any time.

He also recommends that the city council revoke Duck Place's special permit.

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