Kusko Liquor license transfer protest fails

by Delta Discovery Staff

The Bethel City Council voted against a resolution that protests the transfer of the Kusko Liquor license, owned by Cezary Maczynski, to ACC Liquor, owned by the North West Company International.

The proposed package store license transfer would relocate the operation of the license from 801 Front Street to 811 3rd Avenue.

The resolution was sponsored by council member Leif Albertson.

“The question for us today is do we as a council think that AC is responsible enough to do this in our community?” said Albertson.

Albertson prepared a chart showing a comparison of police calls that occurred during the time the now-closed AC Quickstop liquor store was the only liquor store that was in operation and the police calls that occurred while the Caribou Traders liquor store is now currently open as the sole liquor store in Bethel.

“The comparison clearly shows that for the same time period AC Quickstop the police, fire and EMS personnel responded to more calls for service on average per month that the operation period for Caribou Traders,” states Resolution 19-07. “When comparing the overall calls for service in the community it is clear through the calls for service detail to their business operations and throughout the City, the business practices of the North West Company is damaging to the welfare of the residents of the City and puts a strain on very limited City resources.”

The information for the calls for service are from statistics provided by the Bethel Police and Fire Departments.

Mayor Watson gave an opportunity to the Alaska Commercial Company (ACC) to defend their license. Jeff Cichosz, the Director of Sales and Operations from Anchorage spoke on behalf of ACC.

“I think the big issue is the first time selling alcohol in 40 years…the newness and the pains…we learned a lot since then,” he said.

Several on council spoke in favor of the proposed ACC Liquor store.

“I’d rather bring AC in as a full family member in our community and try to ask them to do better than beat them over the head and say no, this is not going to be better because of past issues,” said Vice Mayor Thor Williams. “People learn from their mistakes.”

Resolution 19-07 failed by a vote of 1-5 with Mayor Fred Watson, Vice Mayor Thor Williams, and council members Perry Barr, Fritz Charles, and Carole Jung-Jordan opposed. Casting the lone yes vote was council member Leif Albertson.

Council member Mitchell Forbes was away on travel during this regular city council meeting which took place on June 25th, 2019.