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A group of D.C. residents hoping to take down Donald Trump—or at least his business at the Trump Hotel—suffered its first setback last week. In June, that group filed a complaint with Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) asking it to revoke the hotel’s liquor license because its owner—The President of the United States of America—is not a person of “good character,” as D.C. requires such owners to be. On Wednesday, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board finally addressed the complaint and decided that they won’t hold a hearing to review the hotel’s liquor license and the character of its owner.
Yesterday, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joshua A. Levy of Cunningham Levy Muse LLP, sent a legal brief to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board scolding them for their decision.
In its statement on the decision, Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Chairperson Donovan Anderson cited procedural reasons for not going ahead with a hearing, writing that character investigations are typically only held before issuing a liquor license, transferring a license to a new owner, or renewing a license. Right now, the Trump Hotel’s liquor license doesn’t fall within any of those categories.
The complaint, filed by Levy on behalf of a group of concerned District residents, which includes members of local faith communities and a former judge, asked the ABRA Board to eschew the provision because of the high profile and especially “egregious” nature of the hotel’s owner.
“We disagree, respectfully, on the Board’s understanding of the statute,” Levy told City Paper last week. “Holding a liquor license in D.C. is a privilege, not a right. And we urge them to reconsider.”
In a new statement provided to City Paper, Levy shared some harsher words for the ABC Board: “Every day, there is new and compelling evidence of the President’s poor character, and the Board has a duty to act on it now,” he says. “When the Board postponed a ruling on this complaint for next year, it was applying one standard to Mr. Trump after applying a different standard to other bar owners. While the Board probably did not intend to treat the president above the law, the effect of their decision has done that.The Board should follow its precedent and its statute and act now.”
Levy says that yesterday’s request for reconsideration is the only legal action his group is taking at this time. “We are hopeful the Board will reconsider its position, in light of their own legal precedent that we have put before them,” he says. “That said, we may pursue other legal action, if the law is not followed.”