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Knicks Owner Hires PI to Trail Liquor Regulator Investigating MSG

  • Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan hired a private investigator to follow a state regulator evaluating Madison Square Garden's liquor license.
  • Dolan has taken an antagonistic stance toward NY authorities and lawyers engaged with his companies.
New York Knicks and New York Rangers executive chairman, James Dolan, at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

James Dolan is upping the ante in his battle against New York regulators.

The owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers, Madison Square Garden, and other venues and restaurants hired a private detective to follow New York State Liquor Authority investigator Charles Stravalle.

MSG Entertainment, which operates the Garden and other properties, acknowledged having done so, calling it “a common and lawful practice.”

Dolan is in an ongoing feud with state authorities over his policy of barring lawyers employed by firms engaged in active litigation against his companies from entering his properties, including Madison Square Garden. The company uses facial recognition technology to enforce the policy.

The New York State Attorney General wrote a letter in January to MSG Entertainment saying the policy could violate civil rights laws. Stravalle is investigating whether the policy is grounds for removing the Garden’s liquor license.

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The issue could impact the attempted sale of MSG Entertainment’s Tao Group, which Dolan is looking to sell to fund the construction of his $2.2 billion Las Vegas venue, MSG Sphere.

In a televised interview, Dolan held up a picture of the state Liquor Authority’s chief executive Sharif Kabir and suggested that fans tell him to “stick to his knitting.”

Dolan has recently expressed interest in selling a minority stake in the Knicks and Rangers but has promised to retain majority control of both teams.

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