It’s campaign season and fundraising is a very big part of the election landscape, but the Mohave County Board of Supervisors has drawn the line for a candidate who wanted to hold a fund raising event in Oatman during the Laughlin River Run.
On Monday, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to recommend that a special event liquor license for a sheriff’s candidate from Coconino County be denied by the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.
It was Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe that first objected to the liquor license request, which was submitted by Danny Thomas, an independent candidate running for Sheriff in Coconino County. According to the paperwork submitted to the state liquor board, Thomas is working with a vendor– Old Time Tanker Beer, out of Fort Mohave, owned by James Langland, to put on the fundraising event. Both Thomas and the vendor are suppose to split the proceeds equally.
In a memo to the board, McCabe listed three main reasons for his objections. His first objection was on the grounds that the proceeds from the fundraiser were not going toward a non-profit organization. He suggested the board generally asks that these types of fundraisers have some sort of benefit to local charities.
The fact that the event is planned for the busiest time of the year for Oatman also drew objections from the sheriff.
“Additionally, liquor distribution is not a good idea during biker weekend as it is too difficult to police,” he wrote. “More alcohol with more bikers is not compatible.”
McCabe also told supervisors that his department has received complaints in previous years regarding out-of-town organizations setting up shop in Oatman just to take advantage of the business that the Laughlin River Run brings to town. He said, there are questions and concerns about allowing visiting businesses and organizations to compete and benefit from the weekend equally with those already licensed to sell alcohol in Oatman, who also pay license fees, taxes and contribute to the local economy.
District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson agreed with the sheriff’s concerns and asked his colleagues to recommend that the liquor license request be denied. Johnson suggested this would not be the first time that the sheriff or the board of supervisors has objected to special event requests during the Laughlin River Run.
“We have tremendous problems with groups of people anyway,” Johnson said, “and historically we’ve not allowed these types of licenses during that period up in Oatman.”
Supervisors Gary Watson and Hildy Angius joined Johnson in voting to recommend denial of Thomas’ special event liquor license request. It’ll be up to the Arizona State Liquor Board to make a final determination on the request. They are scheduled to meet on Thursday, but it’s unknown if the board will consider Thomas’ application at that time.