We already knew the regulatory bureaucracy in New York is messed up—after all, they’re the guys who slap restaurants with violations for things like leaving yogurt to ferment at room temperature or using wet towels to keep cutting boards in place. But paying $73 in public funds for a full dinner at the Bowery Hotel in the name of sniffing out liquor violations seems…off, especially when employees refer to the practice as “fucking the duck.” Classy!

It’s not exactly the corruption scandal of the century, but the New York Post points out that liquor inspectors’ drink orders, paid for by the state and its taxpaying citizens, are a bit on the excessive side. For example: is it really necessary to order three beers a person at a restaurant that already charges a $20 entrance fee? Even if “additional drinks are often required because it sometimes takes a while for investigators to be seated outdoors”?

Less than half of all State Liquor Authority inspections warranted an in-house visit, but the expense reports for those that did read more like a date-night receipt than a routine checkup to make sure a restaurant’s still carding people. A trip to the Bowery Hotel involved “two pasta entrees” and a $14 cocktail, while a $63 tab at another restaurant included two meals and just one drink, which seems a little suspicious given the meal’s stated purpose.

It’s doubtful the uproar over the SLA’s spending habits will amount to much more than some grumbling from watchdogs, but let’s take this opportunity to collectively SMH at New York’s regulatory agencies.

[via NY Post]