The group is citing a DC regulation that says a liquor license owner must be “of good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure.” Trump, they say, remains an owner of the hotel, though he has handed over day to day management to his sons while in office.
Hoping for a round two this year, the group submitted another request using many of the same examples it did in 2018 to assert that the President is not of “good character” and therefore should not hold a liquor license.
In the documents, the group wrote that it is “focusing on certain lies (Trump) has told, his involvement in relevant fraudulent and other activity demonstrating his lack of integrity, and his refusal to abide by the law or to stop associating with known criminals.”
The Trump hotel had argued that the group’s request should be blocked by the board on the grounds of “appropriateness,” arguing that an owner’s character is not a consideration when issuing or renewing licenses. But in its ruling, the board said that the hotel’s “interpretation (of local law) contradicts the intent of the legislature, which considered character challenges a fundamental part of the District’s alcohol laws.”
Neither the Trump Organization nor its attorney representing the hotel in the matter, Stephen O’Brien, responded to CNN’s request for comment on Friday.
Joshua Levy, an attorney who is representing the group challenging the license renewal, told CNN on Friday that the board’s order is “a solid victory for the rule of law.”
“Despite Trump’s efforts to silence the public and hold himself above the law, the board correctly denied his motion to dismiss and found that the public can ‘protest’ the owner’s character on renewal of their liquor license,” Levy said.
The DC board said that the group will have to decide whether it wants to turn over the addresses of the group’s members to determine if they have standing to bring their protest. If it’s determined that they have standing, the board will then decide if the protest should be taken up by the panel, which would hold hearings on the issue.
CNN’s Eli Watkins contributed to this report.