Casino liquor license: 10-month investigation continues — Glendale Star
An inquiry was made April 27 to the State Liquor Department about the status of the liquor license application of Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort (Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, or TOGE). Because there were public protests to the application, the State Liquor Board must hold a public hearing before July 6. It was July 6, 2015 when the application was filed.
In response to the inquiry, which was made by phone, Liquor Department Deputy Director Michael Rosenberger responded by email, saying, “As mentioned previously, a hearing will occur before 7/6/16, in order to accommodate the public protest. The Liquor Board is working to finalize a date for the hearing and hopefully they will set that date soon. The Department has not yet finalized a decision on whether the Department will also protest.”
As reported in previous articles in The Glendale Star, the attorney representing the TOGE, Tom Aguilera, filed the liquor license application July 6, 2015 on a No. 6 license purchased from a person with a No. 6 on active status. This is considered a license transfer by the liquor department. Once filed, the liquor department has 105 days to process the transfer, subject to public protest, which triggers a liquor board hearing. Once the local governing board, in this case, the legislative arm of the Tohono O’odham Nation, approved the license application in August, protests were filed 15 days after that. The protest letters were timely filed between Aug. 21 and Sept. 2.
Aguilera has previously stated he did not expect a hearing in October because that would be too quick. Aguilera said he would typically see the hearing take place in November, but the liquor department started an investigation and that delayed the hearing. The liquor department has the statutory right to extend the time of review.
Then came a letter Dec. 16 to Aguilera, stating the department was extending its investigation to May 2016.