Legal Troubles Don't Mean Liquor License Problems (KTVA.com Exclusive)
AB&M Enterprises, owned by local restaurant magnates Abraham and Basilio Gallo, also faces charges of falsifying business documents and tampering evidence after APD detectives confirmed parts of the surveillance video footage of Brown’s assault had been erased. Basilio Gallo, who owns several Mexican restaurants around Anchorage, also sits on the board of the Anchorage Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailer’s Association (CHARR).
While the company categorically denied the charges in a typed statement, police said the popular Downtown bar faced a $2.5 million fine if convicted. Rumrunner’s Manager Mike Shomer said the bad publicity generated by the case alone would trigger a downswing in business for at least several months, but without any changes to the restaurant’s conditional use permit, even a slew of criminal charges wouldn’t shut it down.
Honeman said it was a simple matter of rational self-preservation.
“If we took action based on emotion, what we believe, and didn’t wait for due process, then the city could be sued,” he said.
If the charges resulted in a conviction, he said assembly members could confidently move forward with amending or stripping the business’s conditional use permit. The liquor license, though, was out of their hands.
That’s where the state comes in: In the ABC board’s enforcement unit, Robert Beasley and the other investigators spend their days checking in on license holders, following up on public tips and paying undercover visits to establishments across town. The board’s half-dozen underage buyers trawled local bars and restaurants on the weekends, actively searching out violators.
Beasley said the majority of Anchorage’s 400 licensed businesses followed the law, a large handful did not.
Several months ago, Tropical Latin Food was also temporarily shut down for conditional use permit violations, and employees at four Downtown bars were cited over the holiday season for over-serving patrons in violation of municipal law.
But not even blatantly illegal activity guaranteed the loss of a liquor license.
“Most of the time it’ll be suspensions, not necessarily revocations,” Beasley said. “Suspensions are more common: It would have to be pretty egregious conduct for the board to act on a license.”
At Rumrunner’s, where Brown wasn’t the first patron to report assault at the hands of bouncers, Honeman said even slight changes to the conditional use permit would most likely follow a criminal conviction.
“Handcuffing a customer, taking him down to the basement and beating him, that’s pretty outrageous conduct on its face,” he said. “What’s it going to take?”