Hillyard: legislature didn’t ask DABC to close any liquor stores

There has been considerable controversy surrounding the Utah Liquor Control Commission and State Senator John Valentine, R-District 14, has called for the resignation of the department director Dennis R. Kellen. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-District 25, says he hasn’t talked to Valentine but he says the senator has looked closely at results of a department investigation. Hillyard says the legislature did not ask the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to close any stores. “We asked them to have a business plan to see how they could make more money,” Hillyard says, “and they kind of, almost in retaliation back to us, said ‘Well, we’ll show you,’ and they started closing stores and then arguing all the profits they’ve lost. “Our auditor took a great deal of time looking at the Main Street store in Salt Lake that was closed and although they say ‘we lost $120,000 in sales,’ that’s true, but the neighboring stores all picked up.” Hillyard says reductions came through such things as getting along with fewer employees. He says instead of losing $120,000 as the press quoted for the first six months there was actually a net profit of $50,000. He says Kellen has not been very willing to face the requests of the legislature.

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