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News Maryland Baltimore County Towson

Deal with county absolves Recher Theatre in Towson melee

A negotiated agreement announced Monday morning between Baltimore County government and the owners of the Recher Theatre on York Road absolves the theater of all responsibility for the late-September crowd disturbances in downtown Towson.

The agreement was announced just prior to Monday morning's scheduled hearing between the theater owners and the Baltimore County Board of Liquor License Commissioners — and essentially made that hearing a formality.

As a result of the pact, the Recher received no fines or penalties from the board stemming from the incident, in which a crowd estimated at about 2,500 people became unruly and had to be dispersed by police. Seven people were arrested in the incident.

Per the terms of the deal, the Recher and its management will agree not to "directly contract with a promoter" in the future, and also won't give authority to sell tickets beyond the venue's 630-person capacity.

Additionally, the Recher must ensure contracts with performers or promoters state the venue's capacity, and management must notify the county of its weekly schedule and electronically monitor and review ticket sales to ensure their ability to identify when events reach capacity.

The agreement memorandum established that the Recher had an "excellent working relationship" with county police and had actually alerted police that a private party was being held on the night of Sept. 22. Police reports released last week had also noted that a Recher employee had called police when the crowd outside began to get out of control.

The memo says the events "were unexpected and beyond the control of" the Recher," and the county is satisfied that the Recher "is committed to operating a lawful an [sic] upstanding business in Towson."

After the meeting, owner Brian Recher said he and his brother and partner, Scott Recher, were satisfied with the agreement, and thankful for the outpouring of support the family received from the Towson community since the incident.

"It's just nice to recognize you have worked hard for almost 17 years," Brian Recher said. "Our family has been in the town for almost 54 years. We've entertained millions of people in Towson and had one unfortunate incident."

"We've always taken a lot of pride in what we've done in the community," he said. "We live, eat, and breathe Towson. I would never want anything ever to happen to Towson."

In absolving the Recher of responsibility, the county reversed the stance of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who shortly after the incident suggested that the Recher owners were responsible for the incident — in part because of the practice of using outside vendors.

The Recher's owners were called before the liquor board for their role in drawing the late-night crowd that became unruly in Towson on Sept. 22 into the morning of Sept. 23.

A fraternity rented out the facility, but the bar hit capacity just after 11 p.m., leaving a crowd on the streets of Towson waiting to get into the bar.

Baltimore County Police arrested seven people that night for both assaulting police officers and failing to obey orders as they aimed to disperse the crowd. In a separate incident which police have not connected to the Recher, a 20-year-old man walking to a parking garage near the Towson Town Center mall was found shot, suffering non-life-threatening injuries.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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