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Beverly City Council votes to revoke license of local hot dog vendor due to pending criminal case

Posted by Terri Ogan  July 18, 2013 03:57 PM

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The Beverly City Council unanimously voted earlier this week to revoke the Hawker's and Peddler's license of a local hot dog vendor due to his involvement in a pending criminal case at Salem District Court.

John Doyle of Blaine Avenue was arrested after violently allegedly attacking an 86-year-old man outside the Italian Community Center on Rantoul Street on June 1, according to a report from Beverly Police .

After the incident , Beverly Police Chief Mark Ray, who must sign off on all vendor applications before they go to the Legal Affairs Committee, withdrew his approval of Doyle's license.

According to Legal Affairs Committee Chair and Ward 2 Councillor Wes Slate, the City Council received a letter from Ray following the incident requesting that the Council "suspend the license because of the allegations that were made during the arrest."

"The Chief approves the application and he's attesting to the character of the applicant," Slate said. "Chief Ray felt that because of the arrest that he was withdrawing his approval and asking the Council for that reason, to suspend the license."

Ray said that as soon as he became aware of the seriousness of the violent attack, he moved quickly to notify the Council.

"I take no pleasure in stopping someone from doing their job, but i think there's a reason why the Council wants to make sure that people with their license are of good character," Ray said. "And that's my obligation to the Council, to notify them of the incident."

Immediately after the incident City Council President Paul Guanci called for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, but the Council decided to hold off on making a decision to revoke Doyle's license.

Slate said that Doyle's attorney, Ronald Ranta, requested a hearing for July 1 where he made the case that the incident was not connected to or involved with his business.

Ranta could not be reached for comment.

The decision to revoke Doyle's license, Guanci said, was a difficult one, but after speaking to a witness, who said the altercation was "extremely violent," Guanci made his decision to vote in favor of revoking Doyle's license.

"It was so hard for me because he's a small businessman and he works for himself," Guanci said. "But he has to be answerable for his actions."

Typically without the Chief's approval, the Legal Affairs Committee "doesn't even consider the application" of the vendor, Slate said.

"Most of the business that comes before the Council is about relatively routine matters," Slate said. "But then there are those times, 10 to 15 percent of the time, where we have a very controversial matter…something like this where the decision we make, you're looking the person in the eye, he appears to be doing everything he can to turn his life around and by our actions, his ability to sell hot dogs is gone."

The main concern was having another incident similar to the one on June 1, on city property.

"The Council acts on the recommendation of the Chief and that recommendation isn't there anymore so that's why we revoked the license," Guanci said.

Hawker's and Peddler's licenses are usually used for hot dog vendors, ice cream trucks and food trucks, among other things. They are seasonal licenses that must be renewed every year.

Doyle has been selling hot dogs by the Dane Street Beach and the bowling alley on Bridge Street for two years, according to City Clerk Kathleen Connolly.

Doyle is due at Salem District Court on Wednesday August 7.

Terri Ogan can be reached at, or follow her on Twitter.

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