SW Legal studies in Business

Commission Could Use Judgment about Fiscal Responsibility of Liquor License Applicant
Description

Connecticut appeals court held that the state liquor commission decided properly within its authority not to renew a liquor license. The license holder must be fiscally responsible. The license holder here was not, as he did not pay taxes on behalf of people who worked for him.

Topic Administrative Law
Key Words

Liquor License; Financial Responsibility

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Livingston owned a Café in New Haven, Connecticut. When he applied to renew his liquor permit several New Haven residents filed comments in opposition to renewal, contending Livingston was not suitable to have a liquor license and that the café was in a location not suitable for liquor. The Liquor Control Commission held ten hearings over several months on this issue concerning the “suitability of person” to meet state statutory requirements. The Commission found that several people worked at the café, but there were no tax records of their employment. Livingston filed no W-2 forms on behalf of his employees, did not pay unemployment compensation taxes or contribute to Social Security. Apparently he provided these people free apartments in exchange for untaxed work. The Commission held that Livingston was not fiscally responsible and so not qualified to have a liquor license. He appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The Commission has broad powers to revoke or suspend liquor permits. The law requires the Commission to consider an applicant’s suitability for a liquor permit and to determine if an applicant is fiscally responsible. Evidence that people who worked for him were not properly accounted for as employees by payment of assorted taxes and the keeping of records is an indication of fiscal irresponsibility that would justify not renewing the liquor license.

Citation Livingston v. Dept. of Consumer Protection, ---A.2d--- (2010 WL 959941, App. Ct., Conn., 2010)

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