Question: What can a liquor license specialist do for me?
Specialists like myself can help you determine if you and your premise are likely to be eligible to obtain a liquor license; identify hurdles to obtaining a license and find ways to overcome them; help you prepare the license (including photos, fingerprinting and required notices); track the progress of your license; accompany you to pre-license hearings the liquor authority may require; assist you in obtaining a lawyer in the event of enforcement actions; assist you in responding to, or defending, your license against a liquor authority proceeding to suspend, cancel or revoke your license.
Question: Shouldn't I just hire a lawyer?
I strongly recommend you retain attorney, which I am not, if you are charged with a felony, misdemeanor, violation or are served with any action that requires a response in a court of law. For licensing and administrative actions, however, you may find a specialist to be more-accessible, more-attentive and more-affordable than an attorney. Some clients need only advice on how to "talk" to the liquor authority staff to resolve a situation favorably. In other cases, I can appear with a licensee at agency proceedings as an advocate. If you need an attorney, I would gladly refer you to one.
Question: I'm nervous. What is it like dealing with the liquor commission?
The liquor authority isn't in the business of giving you a license, only to try to take it away. The authority wants to protect the public. It does so in a professional, effective manner. It is my job as a licensee advocate to help you assure the authority that a) your operation is not a threat or nuisance to the public b) if there have been problems, you've taken them seriously, accept responsibility, and taken steps to avoid additional problems and potential discipline. I can also help make sure you are treated fairly.
Question: I was advised to hire an "expediter." What's the difference?
It's a matter of semantics. The phrase "expediter" suggests the ability to get a license or other application sped up. I am not an "expediter," per se. I don't have the contacts or ability to get your application moved up in line, as some in the industry promise. The SLA says 90 percent of applications are incomplete. I'll work to make sure that when you are application is filed, the examiners will have complete, clear and documented information. That should help ease the process along and save you time, hassles and unncessary expense.
Question: What makes you qualified to help me?
I've done a great many things during my career: pub owner, retail store owner, web design and consulting, real estate, award-winning journalist, and more recently this. I am well-versed in the liquor license rules, enforcement issues, the hearing process, the state Freedom of Information Act and the State Administrative Procedure Act. Let me put my experience to work for you.