- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 15, 2019

President Trump’s hotel in D.C. risks losing its liquor license after local alcohol regulators set the stage this week to consider whether he satisfies their “good character” requirement.

The district’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ruled Wednesday against dismissing a complaint lodged against the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A group of least five D.C. residents and property owners have protested that renewing the hotel’s liquor license would run afoul of city statute, the regulators wrote in their ruling.

“The Group challenges the renewal of the Applicant’s hotel license based on their allegation that President Donald J. Trump, an individual owner of at least one of the entities listed on the hotel’s liquor license, lacks ‘good character’ in accordance with D.C. Official Code§ 25-301(a), which is a requirement to qualify for renewal of the license,” they wrote.

Representatives for the hotel argued that the petition should be pitched, but the regulators ruled otherwise and refused to reject the complaints.

“In order to renew a Retailer’s Class CH License, the Applicant is obligated to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that the ownership ‘is of good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure,” said their order.

Representatives for the hotel had argued that the group’s complaint should be rejected because it lacked signatures and addresses. The board ordered in Wednesday’s ruling that the hotel’s representatives are entitled to the addresses in order to have a “fair opportunity to challenge the validity of the petition,” effectively putting the onus on the petitioners to decide whether to disclose their addresses and proceed further.

The board’s decision was first reported Friday by The Washington Post.

“We’re excited that we’re closer to a hearing on the merits,” said Joshua Levy, a lawyer involved in the challenge.

“The ruling is a victory for the rule of law,” Mr. Levy told The Post. “The board correctly rejected Trump’s attempt to silence the public and be held above the law. In the District of Columbia, no one is above the law.”

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told The Washington Times that the ruling is “nothing more than politics at its worst.”

“All individuals engaged in this charade should be ashamed of the manipulative use of a public agency for purely political ends,” said the spokesperson.

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