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Funwith4

Help with liquor license

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Funwith4

We purchased a small hospitality business three months ago. It is a licensed restaurant. A condition of the purchase was that the previous owner stay on as a $1 shareholder until the liquor license was successfully transferred into our name. We thought this was the right thing to do but have recently discovered it holds no legal merit.

 

My husband has called liquor licensing Victoria so many times over the past few weeks asking where we stand, are we doing the right thing, should we stop selling etc. He has told them so many times that we don't want to break any laws or do the wrong thing. They advised us to keep selling. Then, in a call last week a supervisor at liquor licensing advised us to stop selling immediately so we did.

 

Our liquor license has still not been approved. Today we received a call from the police asking us to come in and chat with them about the transfer. They have said we have committed an offence by selling liquor unlicensed. The fine is up to $36,000 or two years prison.

 

My husband is beside himself.

 

Has anyone got any experience with this?

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happywombat

Can you get anything information/advice you were given from liquor licensing Victoria in writing?

 

I hope things work out for you.

 

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Jenflea

Get legal advice.

 

Get every bit of paperwork you have as evidence.

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JBH

Find a lawyer with experience in liquor licensing. Law Institute of Victoria can help if you don't know someone.

 

Ask for a fee estimate up front and check what it covers.

 

Prepare a bullet point summary with a folder of relevant docs for the lawyer - take the emotion out of it, the aim is to convey info in an efficient manner. Remember lawyers bill by the minute - if you repeat yourself you coat yourself money.

 

For example:

1. Date: entered into contract for sale (see folder tab 1). Clause x deals with previous owner staying as $1 shareholder pending transfer. Clause was included on advice from x to the effect that...

...

2. Date: John smith called liquor licensing Victoria. Explained situation. Was advised to continue trading. (If there's a record of the conversation, put it in the folder.)

 

Easier said than done, but don't panic. I expect that the fines etc you've mentioned are maxima. It would be unlikely that they would be applied for an inadvertent breach, particularly given you've ceased supply.

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