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DC Liquor Board Isn’t Revoking Trump Hotel’s Liquor License—Yet

A complaint claimed Trump violated a DC law that requires liquor license owners to be of "good character."
Photo of the Trump International Hotel by Jeff Elkins.

DC’s liquor board has temporarily kneecapped efforts to overturn Trump International Hotel’s liquor license. During a public hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration announced that the renovated Old Post Office will maintain its ability to serve alcoholic beverages to patrons—for now.

Board chairman Donovan Anderson says that the board will not hold a “show cause” hearing to hear arguments regarding the revocation of the hotel’s license. The complaint—filed by three reverends, two rabbis, and two judges—alleged that President Donald Trump is the true owner of the White House-adjacent property and that he violated the law’s requirement of being of “good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure.” The effort was backed by the Campaign for Accountability and Transparency Inc., a nonprofit funded and run by an Arizona Republican and philanthropist named Jerry Hirsch.

Anderson noted that it’s uncommon to call for such a hearing after the period to apply for or renew a liquor license passes, adding that the hotel—and any other license holding establishment, for that matter—must apply for renewal by March 2019. At that time, new complaints can be brought forward.

Yet the complainants refuse to wait around.

“We’ll be filing a submission to the board demanding they look at the statue as a whole and reconsider their decision,” attorney Joshua A. Levy says. A letter, which will likely be submitted in the next few business days, will urge the board to re-review allegations made against Trump.

Why not reconvene in March? “The facts are so compelling right now that the board has a duty to act now,” Levy says. “This is an individual who has demonstrated, in public, hundreds of pages of evidence of bad character. When that happens, whether it’s the President or anyone else, as a duty to community…the board should act now.”

The White House has yet to respond to request for comment.

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Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd joined Washingtonian as a staff writer in June 2018. She previously covered the White House for Independent Journal Review. On her off time, she obsesses over pop culture and the best place to find authentic New York pizza in the district. She currently lives in Navy Yard.