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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Durham ABC Follow-up 

The Clarion Content broke the story eight short days ago. It has gone viral now.

Yesterday the Triangle Business Journal reported yesterday that the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has called for an investigation into the Durham County ABC Board.

Today, it is the front page of the Durham Herald-Sun.
"State officials have launched an investigation into the Durham County ABC Board, looking, among other things, at whether its still-new general manager has been steering contracts to friends of board members."

The way we attempted to bring you the story line to begin with was, where there is smoke, it seems unlikely there isn't fire too. We had sources that were bellowing and belching smoky details. Now to read the allegations in the Triangle Business Journal or the Durham Herald-Sun, the dealings are sordid. The allegations as originally reported by the Clarion Content last Wednesday, minutes of meetings altered, meetings conducted without traditional recording, violations of policy and state law.

And if you read the comment section on our original post, albeit some of the comments are anonymous, there are further allegations of missing minutes, of altered minutes in different font types and formats. There is a report that there is no job application in General Manager Emily Page's personnel file.

The Herald-Sun notes that Page, who was Board Chairwoman when she accepted the $100,000/yr. General Manager position, does not list any retail management experience on her Linked-in page. This, for a position that has her running eight busy retail liquor stores, the fishiness factor is self-evident. Down right sloppy.

In that vein, a final detail that caught our eye in the Triangle Business Journal's article, the Durham ABC Board, like all ABC Boards is supposed to distribute a proportion of its profits to city and local governments. The Durham ABC Board turned over $909,000 to the county and $101,000 to the city.

Those look like some awfully round numbers for a place that does as many transactions as your friendly, neighborhood, eight Durham ABC stores. Their revenue last year was nearly $25 million dollars.

As shady as some of their other dealings appear to be, let's hope the state is going over Durham ABC's books with a fine tooth comb.

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