Liquor applicant wrongly denied

Dear Editor:

I am the broker who sold the property that includes the Popcorn Wagon and adjacent building. So, because I had never been to a liquor board hearing, I thought it would be interesting. It was truly an eye-opener. It turned into a popularity or unpopularity contest – depending on which side you were on.

There was the group who said they were owed money by the applicant. There was the group who said they were very happy to have a job and were very well taken care of in all aspects by the applicant. Finally, there was the new landlord-owner who said he had put up the money as part of his negotiation for tenant improvements and all of those subcontractors, architects, etc., said they are being paid expeditiously.

The only final judgment that was ever recorded against this applicant was already paid off many years ago.

No matter how many times the applicant’s lawyer stated that all claims against the applicant are being adjudicated in the civil court system, and the applicant had no liquor law violations on any of his existing liquor license, the three members of the board did not change their mind.

So, the liquor license was denied by a vote of 3-2. What does this accomplish? The marvelous corner at the Popcorn Wagon and summer fountain remains fallow. About 40 people who need these restaurant jobs are not working. And the craziest part is that if any of the court cases are won by those “protesters” – how do they think a judgment can be paid if the applicant is denied his ability to do any business?

The reality is that if you are a contractor, subcontractor, architect, landlord or tenant, you very likely have been named in a lawsuit – especially within the last two years of the economic downturn.

All this denial did was to extend that downturn. It was a circus that should have been dealt with on the basis of the liquor license requirements – not who brought the biggest crowd to pack the meeting. The venue for a civil suit is in the courtroom. The venue for a liquor license is with the liquor board. They are mutually exclusive.

Lorrie B. Winnerman