City Manager: Police Investigate Parkway Plaza Liquor License Suspension; City Staff Couldn’t Find Notices From State
The Casper Police Department is investigating the Parkway Plaza's most recent suspension of its liquor license and a complaint by a citizen, Casper City Manager V.H. McDonald said Tuesday.
The investigation comes on the heels of the third suspension of the license of Casper's largest hotel in a year, and a recent comment at a city council meeting by a former Parkway Plaza employee ordered by management to illegally purchase alcoholic beverages, McDonald said.
"They would look at citing them for violating a purchase and sale of liquor not from the (Liquor) Commission possibly," he said.
He didn't know the details of the law about suspensions and enforcement, he added.
On Nov. 3, the Wyoming Department of Revenue's Liquor Division notified the city that the hotel had not paid sales taxes in the previous 60 days.
That resulted in a suspension, or "hold," on the hotel's ability to buy alcohol from the Wyoming Liquor Commission, the only legal source in the state for wine, beer and spirits.
Last week, former Parkway Plaza employee Russ Reddick told Casper City Council that he was given a company credit card to illegally buy liquor at local retailers that would be resold by the hotel.
Steve Senft, the principal partner in the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based CRU Real Estate Group that bought the Parkway Plaza in June 2015, did not return calls seeking comment.
The Liquor Division also issued violation notices on Nov. 30, 2015, and April 11. The state lifted those holds on Dec. 9 and June10 respectively after the hotel paid the back taxes.
In April, the Department of Revenue filed a lien against the hotel's owner, CRU Casper, LLC, for $92,743.60, which was recorded in the Natrona County Clerk's Office in May. Last month, the Department of Employment filed a lien against the hotel for $3,037.64 in unpaid unemployment insurance taxes.
McDonald said the April lien should have triggered a notice from the Liquor Division saying there was a suspension of the license. He didn't know about it until a K2 Radio reporter told him about it.
On Tuesday, the division sent him copies of the letters about the November 2015 and April suspensions, the subsequent lifting of the suspensions, and the Nov. 3 letter.
City Hall did receive the notice about the most recent suspension, he said.
McDonald asked city staff about the other letters, but the only one that was found was the one dated June 10, he said.
"In June, I found out we did receive a release, but when asking staff about it they didn't tell me that they received a release in June, which would have indicated an April hold," he said. "So we just had no information of it."
The source of the communication breakdown in City Hall is unknown, McDonald said. "I have no idea."