STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – In a crucial decision last night the Arizona Liquor Board sided with outspoken tribal and Northern Arizona communities when they voted unanimously to deny the transfer of liquor licenses for a pair of liquor stores just outside of the Navajo Nation.
According to a story by the Navajo Times:
By a vote of 6-0, the Arizona Liquor Board unanimously denied the transfer of two liquor licenses from Gary McDonald to George Ryan.
McDonald, who recently reached a plea deal with Apache County for drug charges that put him in jail, attempted to transfer his liquor licenses for Ole Red Barn and Lee’s Liquors in Sanders, Ariz., to Ryan, who owns part of Lee’s Liquors and another nearby liquor establishment.
The board held a hearing on the matter at the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control’s office yesterday in Phoenix, a 12-hour hearing that ended just before midnight Thursday.
Based on various factors, including Apache County’s opposition to the transfer on July 2014, as well as Ryan not having a business plan to deal with the inebriated, the board said the applicant (Ryan) is “not capable, qualified and reliable as required” by state liquor laws to acquire the transfer licenses.
Senator Carlyle Begay:
“This decision is a significant win for the Navajo Nation and the communities of Sanders and Chambers that will help keep them safe from what I consider to have been abusive business practices by the owner,” said Sen. Begay.
“It was empowering to join the several hundred tribal members who traveled hours to attend the hearing in Phoenix and show their opposition to the license transfers. While there is one more step to fully resolve this situation, I am confident our communities will continue to stand strong against these predatory businesses.”