What if conservative religious leaders of people were allowed to force an organization to act in lockstep with its beliefs? Certainly, the conservative Evangelicals have made significant inroads changing the laws over the right of a woman to choose. Yet, one group of people has decided to bypass the Legislative branch of government and head right toward the liquor license board. The results should be interesting, given that Donald Trump is on the other end of this charge.
Last summer, a combination of religious leaders and judges decided to file a complaint against the Trump International Hotel. Their argument held that the owner of this business, one Donald Trump, had not met the “good character” provision that those who hold liquor licenses must meet by Washington D.C. law.
Then, nothing happened. Chairman of the D.C. liquor license board, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Donovan Anderson noted that the board typically had not heard these claims in their hearings. The exceptions came at the time when the liquor license was up for renewal. In this instance, the president’s business was not at that juncture. However, that time has fast approached until this moment.
The group of religious leaders and judges had just gone dormant, and now as if awakened by the spring, the same individuals have returned. These are three ministers, two rabbis, and two judges, backed by the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability and Transparency, Inc. The Arizona Republican and philanthropist Jerry Hirsh funds the nonprofit.
The organization’s attorney Joshua Levy released an email statement to The Washingtonian:
‘Last fall, the Board said the time to take up the question of Mr. Trump’s character would come when the hotel seeks a renewal of the license. That time has come. The hotel has applied for renewal, and no reasonable person could find that Mr. Trump is “of good character.” Whether it’s the thousands of lies he’s told, the criminal hush money payments to women, his emoluments issue, his racism and xenophobia, or his alleged sexual assault over a dozen women, Mr. Trump does not meet the statutory requirement of “good character.’
Levy just attached a 27-page complaint to the letter he sent to the liquor board today. It provided an argument against Trump’s poor character, which included the president’s 10,000-plus lies since he was inaugurated in 2017, his business associations with known criminals, racist comments, and many accusations of sexual assault.
The local liquor board will be charged with providing them with a definition of “good character.” Surprisingly, this was not the first instance of such charges. However, they typically related to such breaches as serving minors or permitting violent incidents on site.
Attorney Ed Grandis, who has no part in the Trump issue, had told the Washingtonian earlier that he had never seen a D.C. restaurant liquor license denied or revoked on the basis of the owner’s character in his 25 years of handling these cases. Normally, the issue had only come up as it related to other violations.
Restaurant attorney Scott Rome sued the hotel for the Cork Wine Bar regarding an unfair competition lawsuit. Although he may not align with the president, he said that this could set an unpleasant precedent. He spoke to the Washingtonian:
‘You worry about it creeping in for someone not as horrible as Trump who they just don’t like for whatever reason. You could just point to someone’s public statements and say, “They don’t have the character to hold a license.” That’s not something you would typically want.’