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Fond du Lac N/A
Liquor store owners claim licensing bias by Milwaukee Alderman
MILWAUKEE WI –
Citizens for Responsible Government is accusing a Milwaukee alderman of favoritism and the livelihood of two business owners hangs in the balance.
For the owners of Exquisite Wines and Spirits it has become personal, they opened in June, they say only after major opposition from one Alderman and now the same official is ruining them.
“If you look around the store you will see the caliber, you will see the environment the customers who come here feel proud you don't see a bullet proof glass,”
Upscale is what owners Gary Palmer and Sharon Pitter-Jones say they were going for when they opened in June offering gift bags instead paper and even special creations.
Like all businesses that want to sale alcohol they had to file an application for a liquor license with the city, which is where they say their problems began with one Alderman.
“Its two concerns that he had, first it was about overconcentration, secondly was the packaging and how people were going to be coming out of the store with the liquor,” said Pitter-Jones.
Robert Puente objected to their business they say telling them the area had too many liquor stores and he didn't want another his district.
Pitter-Jones says according to city maps there were no other liquor stores in the area before them.
She says across the street and two months after they opened
A Martha’s Vineyard, a chain liquor store in Milwaukee, was granted a license.
They say they've been harassed by the Alderman ever since.
“We were told it was in objection of a liquor store we had to tone it down, we had to do this in order to appease the Alderman but when two months later a store that is a full blown liquor store selling in a paper bag, its able to operate without fear of backlash or harassment,” said Palmer.
“It be may something be racial, sad to say,” added Pitter-Jones.
Palmer has other suspicions and believes it may have more to do with money and power.
“Favoritism, that's the word I want to use, I want to be very careful in my choice of words I think there's definitely licensing favoritism.”
Now timing is critical for the business, their license renewal rejected they say based on the original concerns of Alderman Puente, they'll have to close their doors Thursday