ANC 4C goes after Trump International Hotel's alcohol license

(photo: Mr Gray)

Several local civic and religious leaders in the DC area have submitted a complaint to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) with the purpose of having the alcohol license for the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue revoked. Their rationale? Only persons of "good character" can have an alcohol license in DC, according to DC Code § 25-301(a)(1).

Donald Trump, claims the complaint in detail, is not a person of good character.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C passed a resolution at their July meeting supporting the revocation of the license. 

"The ANC is limited in what we can do to stand up to the Trump administration's attacks on our community," said ANC 4C05 Commissioner Zach Teutsch. "One tool we have, however modest, is moral clarity. This resolution puts us on the record: ANC 4C says Mr. Trump's lack of character is a problem. We hope the DC Alcoholic Beverage and Regulatory Administration agrees and takes action."

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. 

 Read the full complaint.

Read the full complaint.

"The rule of law still matters. Character and morality still matter," Levy said. "Mr. Trump chose to keep his liquor license, even while president. He is not above the law, and he should be held accountable, if he cannot meet the statutory 'good character' requirement. Our clients are community leaders, who are making this request because it matters to their community. They are men and women of impeccable character."

The seven complainants are the Honorable Joan Goldfrank (retired Magistrate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia), the Honorable Henry H. Kennedy, Jr (an inactive Senior U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia), the Reverend William Lamar IV (Senior Pastor at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church), Reverend Jennifer Butler (Executive Director of Faith in Public Life, former chair of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships), Reverend Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie (Baptist preacher and General Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the Progressive National Baptist Convention), Rabbi Jack Moline (Conservative Jewish rabbi, Executive Director and President of Interfaith Alliance) and Rabbi Aaron Potek, (Orthodox Jewish rabbi).

The complaint focuses on what it claims are "certain, egregious evidence of Mr. Trump’s lack of good character that is material to the [ABRA] Board’s decision, focusing on certain lies he has told, his involvement in relevant fraudulent and other activity demonstrating his lack of integrity, and his refusal to abide by the law or to stop associating with known criminals."

The complaint then specifies quite a list of examples of Trump not having a good character, including:

  • Lack of truthfulness: The complaint mentions lies told by Trump about his net worth, about avoiding conflict of interest, and lies about the payment to Stormy Daniels. "Indeed, it has been said that 'President Donald Trump is a nonstop, habitual and compulsive liar," notes the complaint on page 9.

  • Lack of integrity: The complaint provides the examples of the Trump University scandal, as well as a reputation for refusing to pay contractors. "Donald Trump consistently takes advantage of those who are less powerful, a trait of those who lack good character."

  • Sexual assault: The complaint notes that "at least 16 women have alleged that Donald Trump sexually assaulted them," including his infamous 2005 recording where he says he can "grab [women] by the pussy." The complaint further specifies that the NIH found that "25 percent of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Approximately one-half of those cases involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim, or both. Alcohol contributes to sexual assault through multiple pathways, often exacerbating existing risk factors... When the owner of a hotel serving liquor has been alleged to have committed sexual assault by at least 16 women, the Board should subject such an owner’s character to strict scrutiny."

  • Donald Trump has engaged in racism: The complaint provides numerous examples, including a comprehensive list published in the New York Times.

  • Associating with known criminals: The complaint offers a long list of citations on page 21.

  • Federal and State legal violations: The complaint also mentions the 40 years of of investigations into Trump's businesses, outlined by the Washington Post in 2016.

"The weight of the evidence presented in the complaint is compelling," said Levy, "and the Board should recommend an order to show cause. The ANC 4C vote further confirms the same, and the Board surely will take seriously any information and letters from the community. On behalf of the complainants, we are grateful for the community support."  

As for what's next, the complaint has been filed and is now under investigation at ABRA. According to a source, ABRA enforcement should conclude the investigation within the next few weeks, at which point the Board will determine whether to recommend to the DC Office of Attorney General whether an order to show cause should be issued.  

If you want to support the complaint, you can submit evidence or correspondence regarding the Trump International Hotel complaint to abra.legal@dc.gov. But hurry, the investigation should close within the next few weeks.