McCrory: Privatize NC liquor stores

(AP)

January 7, 2010 10:35:00 AM PST
Former Charlotte mayor and gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory again called on North Carolina to privatize state liquor stores Thursday.

"Government should have teachers on the payroll, not clerks to sell booze," the Republican said in a media statement.

McCrory's comments came on the heels of news announced Wednesday that North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement said it found several violations of state law while investigating why a liquor company paid the dinner tab for state alcohol regulators.

The investigative report shows that the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division concluded that the Mecklenburg County ABC board, liquor company Diageo, and a company representative violated laws. It cited the board for accepting illegal gifts.

Diageo paid the $9,000 tab at the Nov. 18 steakhouse dinner for more than two dozen people, although board employees have since reimbursed the company. State ABC Commission chair Jon Williams ordered the review. The agency declined further comment.

Diageo also declined comment because of the pending investigation.

In his statement Thursday, McCrory said the state should sell the assets of the current ABC system and put the money towards roads and alcoholism treatment.

"The cronyism within the ABC system is astounding and the current system, created in 1937, is clearly outdated. We have some employees making well over $200,000 annually and some of the local ABC boards are being influenced by big alcohol distributors," he said.

McCrory claims North Carolina could make seven hundred million dollars from the privatization of the alcohol business. He said that number does not include sales, property, and income taxes that would be collected by state and local governments.

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