By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
What could happen to a Corbin liquor store that’s yet to open may not be decided until early next year.
The decision on whether to award Ernie’s Spirits a package alcohol license now is in the hands of Susan Durant, a special hearing officer, and ultimately the board of the state ABC — the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“At the end of the Sept. 25th hearing, the Hearing Officer gave the parties time to file briefs. The Department (the ABC) was given 15 days to file it’s brief. Ernie’s was given seven days to file a response brief, and the Department was given seven days to file a reply brief. After all briefs are field, the case will be submitted to the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer has 60 days following submittal to file a Recommended Order. The (ABC) Board has 90 days following to file its Final Order,” the ABC’s Sam Crain said in an email Monday.
The state ABC Board is made up of Commissioner Frederick Higdon, Distilled Spirits Administrator Tony Dehner, and Malt Beverage Administrator Stephanie Stumbo.
During that hearing, Kevin Durham, the owner of Ernie’s Spirits, was called to the witness stand. He answered questions regarding his package liquor license application in Corbin in 2012, which ultimately led to trouble with state regulators.
In particular, a lease turned in to the ABC as part of Ernie’s Spirits’ retail beer license application in May 2012, and a revised lease on their property at 25 RJV Drive that was turned into the ABC in Sept. 2012, were found to be false and fraudulent by the ABC.
In a Times-Tribune story on April 30, Stumbo said, “The Department learned in a subsequent investigation that Matuse did not exist when the original lease was executed and submitted as part of the application. The original lease thus was false and fraudulent. Further, Matuse did not own the property when the revised lease was submitted on Sept. 25, 2012. Records at the Whitley County Clerk’s Office show that R.J.V. Properties LLC did not sell the property to Matuse until Oct. 4, 2012. Kevin Durham signed the deed as a member of Matuse. Since Kevin Durham is the principal member of Ernie’s Spirits as well, Ernie’s Spirits had actual knowledge that the May 1, 2012 (lease) was false and fraudulent as was the Sept. 25, 2012 revised lease.”
As a result of the lease issue, Ernie’s Spirits was denied a retail package beer license by the state in April of this year.
At one point, Durham told the hearing he just made a mistake.
Former ABC Distilled Spirits Administrator Danny Reed was also a witness at the hearing, held Sept. 25 in Frankfort. Reed was in charge during the time of the Ernie’s Spirits application in 2012.
Previous hearings were held in Frankfort on Aug. 2 and Aug. 7. Crain added no other hearing is scheduled in the case.
On July 1, 2012, Ernie’s Spirits, Tri County Liquor (now Liquor Mart of Corbin) and Liquor King were chosen by the ABC as the winning applicants awarded the three retail package liquor licenses allocated to Corbin. Liquor Mart of Corbin was the first to open on Sept. 28. Liquor King opened with limited hours Oct. 25 and began operating with regular hours on Nov. 1.
The building to house Ernie’s Spirits was completed earlier this spring, but hasn’t opened for business.
By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
- Local News
10 arrested for drugs after investigation
Ten people were arrested Thursday following a three-month investigation of illegal drug activity, according to Kentucky State Police Post 11 — London Public Affairs Officer Trooper Lloyd Cochran.
Jury trial May 14 for man in murder case
A man facing murder charges after the December 2012 beating death of a Corinth Community man appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court Thursday.
Police Roundup - April 18, 2014
Two parents were charged with child endangerment early Thursday after they walked to Wal-Mart in North Corbin with a toddler, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
Council members approve budget amendment
Barbourville City Council members held the second reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Thursday — with no one there to hear it.
London-Laurel Tourism Commission budget approved
The 2014-2015 budget for the London-Laurel County Tourism Commission was approved at Tuesday’s meeting, according to Co-Director Kim Collier.
London-Laurel Chamber holds monthly meeting
The London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting Thursday afternoon at the Jackson Energy Cooperative Community Room.
Budget amendment gets first read
Barbourville City Council members held the first reading of a budget amendment during a special-called meeting Wednesday.
Community garden meeting coming April 25
Some folks in Knox County are looking at bringing some green space to Barbourville, and they need some help. But first, they’ll have an informational meeting on the community garden project next Friday, April 25.
Crash on Wyan Road seriously injures two
Two men remain in a Lexington hospital with serious injuries Wednesday, after they were involved in a one-car crash west of London Tuesday evening.
Public meeting at Goldbug Vol. Fire and Rescue Dept.
A public meeting is slated for 8 p.m. tonight at Goldbug Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, located at 869 Highway 26, Williamsburg.
- More Local News Headlines
- 10 arrested for drugs after investigation