Cooper Street Pier shutdown appears pointless | AspenTimes.com
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Cooper Street Pier shutdown appears pointless

We have a question for the Colorado Department of Revenue: What’s the point?On Wednesday, state authorities suspended the Cooper Street Pier’s liquor license, thus closing the bar, because of 10 drug purchases undercover agents made preceding the Dec. 2 raids on Cooper Street and Little Annie’s Eating House, across the alley. Yes, you read it correctly: This week’s closure occurred because of 10 undercover drug buys between seven months and a year ago.We’re not defending those who allegedly sold the drugs. They broke the law and deserve to be punished. But closing the bar is another matter, especially given Cooper Street owner Charles Wolf’s claim that only one of the alleged dealers undercover agents approached actually worked for him, and that employee was reportedly caught with cocaine in the Dec. 2 raid.But Cooper Street has been doing business all year long. So why would the Department of Revenue take action that effectively shuts down the business seven to 12 months after it collected the evidence? It seems unfairly punitive to suspend the license just as the restaurant and the city are leaning into the busiest time of year.It doesn’t seem like it should take so long for state authorities to process the paperwork and act on what is an obvious liquor license violation. We wonder if the state is perhaps trying to make a point of some kind, swooping into Aspen at the beginning of the summer high season and shutting down one of our most popular watering holes?And to top it all off, state officials ignored a request from the local liquor board for notification in the event of any pending state action against Cooper Street or Little Annie’s. Such discourtesy smacks of arrogance and indifference. Given the image problems most government agencies face, you’d think the Department of Revenue would make one lousy phone call to avoid embarrassment.”I’m a little miffed,” one local board member told the Times. So are we.The public may never have answers to these questions, but the whole affair leaves a bad taste in the mouth – not unlike the heavy-handed Dec. 2 raids themselves.


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