Williams' liquor license denied

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The Steamboat Springs City Council denied Marcus Williams -- a 2003 City Council candidate -- a liquor license on the question of moral character.

Williams was coming before the council for a new tavern liquor license for the Jazbote, a proposed jazz bar at 1875 Ski Time Square.

City Clerk Julie Jordan told the council that Williams had not disclosed a 2003 deferred judgment for driving while ability impaired and a 1996 DWAI conviction on his liquor license application.

The council, acting as the Liquor Licensing Authority, voted 6-0 to deny the application. Councilman Ken Brenner stepped down on the hearing, citing a conflict of interest. Brenner ran against Williams in November for the District 2 council seat.

In a motion to deny the liquor application, Councilwoman Nancy Kramer said Williams did not exhibit good moral character because of a lack of truth in his liquor application.

To approve a liquor license, the council has to find by law that there is no evidence indicating the applicant is not of good moral character.

The council met in executive session to discuss Williams' moral character and his failure to include his previous offenses.

In the application's individual history record, a question asks "have you ever been convicted of a crime or received a suspended sentence, deferred sentence or forfeited bail for any offense in criminal or military court or do you have any charges pending?"

Jordan said that in that section, Williams had first marked yes and wrote, "nothing significant I can remember." He later crossed the wording out and marked no.

Jordan said she advises all liquor license applicants to tell the truth and to disclose everything.

For all liquor license applicants with a stake in the business of 10 percent or higher, Jordan said, a background check is run through the FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

Williams' background check showed that at the time he had marked "no" on his history record, July 14, he had just entered a deferred judgment on a charge of DWAI on April 23.

The check also showed that in 1996, Williams was convicted of DWAI in Gunnison County.

When city staff informed Williams of the inaccuracy, he submitted a letter asking to change his response to that question, according to a memo from Jordan to the council.

In that memo, Jordan also stated she felt Williams had not answered the questions accurately and that she could not fully support his moral character.

Speaking before the council, Williams said at first he did answer "yes" to the question and noted it was nothing significant. But he said when he told a city staff person that it was a relatively insignificant offense, staff suggested, "just putting no."

Before the council's decision, Williams said he did not believe a deferred judgment had to be noted at the time he filled out the application. Williams also said he had a low blood alcohol content level in both offenses, which he said "would have been legal in 48 states."

"If the city has any questions about my moral character, they need to look at themselves," Williams said.

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