On July 8, 2015 ABC Enforcement Agent Bill Kruse forced the manager of Club Frisco to close and sent its patrons scrambling (including several area politicians, judges and attorneys) claiming they did not have a current permit despite the objections of the club's manager.
|ROGERS MAYOR, GREG HINES WAS ONE OF THE PATRONS FORCED TO LEAVE CLUB FRISCO|
Agent Kruse went into the club around 6:00 p.m. to let them know their wine permit was on the non-renewed list. Club manager Charles "C.J." Davis told Kruse they were not renewing the wine permit. Kruse then noticed that the permit the club had displayed had expired. Davis told Kruse that he had sent a payment to the ABC for the new permit back in May, but had not yet received it from the ABC. Kruse told Davis that the club would have to shut down until the new permit was displayed. Davis asked Kruse to check with the ABC in Little Rock to verify that the fee had been paid. Kruse told him that the Little Rock office was closed and he could not check with them until the next morning.
|CHARLES "C.J." DAVIS|
The club owner and permit holder, Emery Davis, a prominent Roger business man, was dismayed and was upset that the ABC had shut down his establishment and that action resulted in embarassment (prominent patrons were in the club at the time it was forced to close) and a loss of income due to the club being shuttered for no permit when the fee for a current permit had been received by the ABC back in May. Davis also found out that 29 other clubs had the same thing happen to them!
|EMERY & RUTH DAVIS|
So he contacted the Governor's office and left a voicemail for Stephanie Neipling complaining about the incident.
Neipling sent an email to the ABC Administration Director Bud Robert and tainted ABC Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet.
Well all hell broke loose at the ABC. When you run the mayor of a major NW Arkansas city out of exclusive members-only club when he was enjoying a cold beverage with several other prominent Rogers citizens the shit will hit the fan. Big time. Especially when the action taken was uncalled for and easily avoidable.
The ABC has close to $300,000.00 in a fund that is set aside to provide tools (and other purposes) for the ABC to carry out their duties and functions.
Surely with all this cash on hand the ABC could set up a database on a SharePoint site that could have all the permit information available, at any time, especially when the main office closes at 4:30 p.m. Something like this would permit the agents in the field to have unfettered access to vital information to avoid a big screw up like this.
The ABC could also get tablets for the agents and they could fill out the required forms and paperwork while they are at a site and the information would be uploaded right then and there eliminating the extra paperwork to send documents at a later time to the main office.
But that makes too much sense doesn't it? And when they appoint unqualified and slow-witted individuals to run the ABC, it's not going to improve.
Even Agent Kruse pointed out this problem and then was shortly forced to "resign".
There is another aspect to this story and that is the problem the ABC has with mailing items to individuals. The ABC has a history of claiming that they mailed something when in fact they didn't.
In this matter the permit holder made a timely payment and the ABC apparently forgot to send the new permit. The same thing happened to another permit holder from Pine Bluff.
The Pine Bluff permit holder, just like Club Frisco, sent in his renewal fees into the ABC. When the new permit did not arrive he called the ABC. The ABC said they would send it and he should have it within the week. A week later and no permit arrived so he called the ABC again. This time they said it would cost him $50.00 to get a replacement permit.
The Pine Bluff permit holder also contacted Neipling. His email to her specifically points out discrepancies about what the ABC claimed happened with the mailing of his new permit.
CLICK TO READ ABOUT PINE BLUFF MISSING PERMIT
Maybe the 29 clubs that were shut down in NW Arkansas in error was due to the ABC failing to mail the new permits.
The ABC should be sending these permits out with a USPS tracking number to be able to verify that the permit was received. It is not expensive and that $300,000.00 fund is partly comprised of the fees for the permits and renewals. Those fees run from several hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars per year depending on the type of permit. With that much money coming in from all the permit holders, spending a little to ensure delivery is a no-brainer.
We made a FOIA request to the ABC for the file on Club Frisco. We we received the file there was no copy of the permit for the present year (2015-2016). Big surprise. The club is probably still waiting on it too.
CLICK TO VIEW ARTICLE ABOUT DAVIS
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