Angel’s Hollow keeps liquor license
BRECKENRIDGE – Angel’s Hollow restaurant owners Debbie and Lee Walker will keep their liquor license – for now.
The Breckenridge Liquor Authority Tuesday voted 3-1 – Jim Lamb abstained from the two-hour hearing citing his friendship with the Walkers – to take no action against the restaurant owners.
Police charged Lee Walker, 43, with one count of selling .09 grams of cocaine, one count of possession of 32.14 grams of cocaine, one count of possession of 9.48 grams of psychedelic mushrooms, one count of possession of an incendiary device, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and two counts of reckless endangerment.
Debbie Walker was charged with possession of cocaine.
The couple was arrested after an undercover officer from the Summit County Drug Task Force tried to purchase drugs from bartender Stacey Bouchard at Bubba’s Bones, according to the arrest report.
Breckenridge police reports indicate Bouchard didn’t have enough cocaine for the deal, so she went across the street to Angel’s Hollow to talk with Debbie Walker. Walker then allegedly went to her home at 4 Magnum Bonum in French Creek to get more drugs.
Unlike in a criminal case, where jurors can only rule that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a liquor board must base its ruling on a preponderance of evidence, said town attorney Tim Berry.
There apparently wasn’t enough of that Tuesday afternoon.
The newly formed liquor board – Chris Kulich, Dave Garrett, Mike Khavari and Ed Hoerner – heard testimony from three Summit County Drug Task Force members who outlined how the sale of cocaine occurred.
According to Frisco Police Sgt. Mark Heminghaus, he went to Bubba’s Bones restaurant and bar and asked Bouchard, a bartender, if she could obtain some cocaine for him. She left the bar and went across the street – reportedly to Angel’s Hollow – and returned.
At that point, he testified, he asked her how much she was getting him. She said a gram of cocaine; he asked her if she could obtain three grams.
Then, Heminghaus said, Bouchard got on the phone and asked for someone named Debbie. Bouchard then apparently arranged for another woman to pick up her vehicle and bring it to Bubba’s Bones.
When a patron asked where Bouchard had gone, another bartender said she’d gone across the street to give Debbie Walker a break while she ran an errand. Officers testified that a woman believed to be Debbie Walker then left Angel’s Hollow.
Other officers followed her to her home in French Creek where she later was arrested.
Sheriff’s Deputy Cale Osborne testified that while he was parked in the Barney Ford lot, he saw Debbie Walker return. He said Bouchard met Debbie Walker at the rear of the vehicle in the street and the two returned to their separate establishments. From Osborne’s vantage point, he couldn’t tell if a transaction took place between Walker and Bouchard.
Heminghaus testified that Bouchard exchanged three packages of what later tested positive for cocaine for $180 in a hallway in Bubba’s Bones.
The liquor board’s decision not to take action on Angel Hollow’s liquor license was based on a paragraph in the liquor law that allows it to take action against the establishment’s owners if the activity took place on the premises, not out in the street, as allegedly happened in this case.
Bubba’s Bones hearing is slated for Jan. 20.
“My job is to interpret this one paragraph,” Khavari said. “This is the only paragraph we have. If we had any kind of evidence this activity took place inside the premises, my vote would be totally different.”
Defense attorney Todd Barson said there was no such evidence that a transaction took place in Angel’s Hollow.
“You are absolutely devoid of any evidence of that nature,” he said. “There was some call made to someone named Debbie, but that can’t be the basis of your decision today.”
“It all ties together,” said prosecutor John Dunn. “One owner’s acting as the (drug) source, they’re taking an order on the premises of Angel’s Hollow and they were a conspirator … in that cocaine transaction to an undercover agent. Use common sense. It’s clear what went on. It can’t be much question as to who Debbie was.”
Hoerner, the lone dissenting vote, said it was evident cocaine sales were occurring and that that behavior is inconsistent with the responsibility of a liquor license holder.
The Walkers still face criminal charges in connection with the case. Lee Walker’s preliminary hearing is Jan. 23. Debbie Walker’s preliminary hearing is Jan. 20.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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