ABRA decides not to act on request to revoke the Trump Hotel's alcohol license

(Screen grab of ANC 4C Commissioner Zach Teutsch speaking to Fox News)

In a story first brought to light by Petworth News, seven members of the religious community in DC and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C, led by Commissioner Zach Teutsch, submitted a complaint to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to have the alcohol license for the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue revoked. The story was picked up by several news outlets (not a surprise, the request has moxie) and this week, ABRA made their decision. They basically said it’s not the right time to review this type of complaint.

The ABRA complaint, filed on June 20th by Joshua A. Levy, counsel for the complainants, lists seven signers comprised of two retired judges and five local interfaith leaders, requesting a hearing to show cause why the hotel's liquor license should not be revoked, based on a provision in the ABRA code that only persons of "good character" can have an alcohol license in DC, according to DC Code § 25-301(a)(1).

An article in the Washington Post said that ABRA declined to review the license, stating:

“…That the character of liquor license owners is not reviewed at will, but when liquor licenses are issued, transferred or renewed. The five board members present Wednesday did not rule on the substance of the complaint.”

“It is important to note that all hotel liquor license owners in the District of Columbia are required to apply for a renewal of their license by March 31, 2019,” Chair Donovan Anderson said following his decision, opening the possibility that the residents could file their complaint again next year.”

According to the WaPo article, “…Levy, the attorney who filed the complaint on behalf of seven residents — three ministers, two retired judges and two rabbis — said the group does not plan to wait until next year and will submit a filing asking the board to reconsider its decision.

“The facts are so compelling right now,” Levy said after the ruling. “The board has a duty to act right now.”

So maybe this gets picked up again in March. I mean, they didn’t say no, they said “maybe later.”

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Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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