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MLCC Appeal Results

A selection of the appeals we have handled before MLCC

Local Government Objection
License Issued

Local Government Objection

Background

Our client had a relatively extensive criminal history, including a felony conviction. Despite the fact that the client had been clean, sober, and out of trouble for over a decade, the local governmental unit objected when he attempted to purchase a Class C liquor-licensed bar/restaurant within the small resort city. Despite an in-person meeting with the Chief of Police, the Chief wrote multiple letters to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission requesting denial of the application.

The Result

Initially, MLCC denied the license transfer request. On appeal, it was shown that the applicant posed no threat of danger to the community and that the local governmental unit's concerns were misguided. As a result, the denial was reversed and the Class C license transfer was approved.

Reinstatement of Terminated Liquor License
License Reinstated

Reinstatement of Terminated Liquor License

Background

Our client was personal representative for the estate of a licensee. At the time of the licensee's death, he was in the process of re-activating his license, which had been in escrow for over five years. Immediately after the death, our client began the process of receiving an official appointment as personal representative to the licensee's estate; this appointment was required before the re-activation could be finalized. Due to no fault of his own, the local court took four months to appoint the client as personal representative. During the time between the licensee's death and the client's appointment, the license was terminated as a result of non-renewal and non-extension of escrow.

The Result

After we provided MLCC with a full timeline of the events and demonstrating that our client had taken every necessary step in the proper manner, the Commission determined that our client had been blameless in the events that culminated with a terminated liquor license. Therefore, the Commissioners decided to re-instate the license; upon this reinstatement, our client was able to finalize the re-activation process and put the license back into active operation.

Gas Station Inventory Requirement
License Issued

Gas Station Inventory Requirement

Background

Applicants with fuel pumps at their location know how difficult it can be to meet the requirements of the so-called Meijer Bill (MCL 436.1541) (or "gas station inventory requirement") when trying to obtain a Specially Designator Distributor (SDD) or Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license. For a location to meet the requirement of 436.1541(1)(a)(ii), it is necessary to maintain $250,000 in inventory, and that inventory must be "those goods and services customarily marketed by approved types of businesses." In the past, we found that tobacco products (rolling papers) worked well for locations with limited space for inventory. Recently, however, we tried something new: Postage Stamps. Unlike tobacco products, Forever Postage Stamps will increase in value as postage prices increase. These stamps also take up considerably less space than rolling papers and have an expected lifespan in excess of 25 years.

The Result

Initially, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission denied the request, finding that postage stamps were not qualifying inventory. According to one Commissioner, our attempt to use stamps was "ludicrous"; in response, we argued that the law itself was ludicrous. On appeal to the Circuit Court, we successfully demonstrated that such postage stamps are, in fact, qualifying inventory. As the Court determined, postage stamps do constitute goods customarily marketed by approved type businesses. Based on this determination, the Court issued an order requiring MLCC to issue an SDD license to our client.

Extensive List of Foreign Moneylenders
License Issued

Extensive List of Foreign Moneylenders

Background

In order to meet the funding requirements for their purchase of a Class C licensed restaurant, our clients used funds from approximately 20 relatives, many of whom were located in China and difficult to contact on a regular basis. As a result of the foreign moneylenders, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission investigator recommended against a transfer of the license to our clients.

The Result

Initially, MLCC denied the license transfer request. On appeal, it was shown that the applicants complied with the investigator's requests to the best of their ability and that the information provided did in fact satisfy the requirements of the Michigan Liquor Control Code. It was further demonstrated that the applicants could have easily avoided the trouble by showing an alternative source of funds, but that they instead chose to provide proper full disclosure. As a result, the denial was reversed and the Class C license transfer was approved.

Applicant with Felony Conviction
License Issued

Applicant with Felony Conviction

Background

Our client sought a transfer of a Michigan Class C liquor license to an LLC in which he was the sole member. Because our client had a felony conviction (he pled no-contest to a drug-related felony), the local police investigation was extremely thorough. After several weeks of investigation, local authorities determined that permitting our client to hold a liquor license would not pose a potential for harm to the local community.

The Result

Despite the findings of the local authorities, the MLCC investigator recommended against the transfer, and our client's request to transfer the license was denied on the basis of the felony. On appeal to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, it was shown that our client posed no danger to society, was completely reformed, and in all reality, was more guilty of naivety than criminality. As a result, the denial was reversed and the transfer was approved.