Wheat Ridge demands return of records detailing billionaire’s stake in liquor giant Applejack

The Colorado Statesman: Saying the city released records it shouldn’t have, an attorney representing the city of Wheat Ridge is demanding the immediate return of dozens of pages of documents concerning a 2014 liquor license application for a new owner of Applejack Wine and Spirits obtained in March under the Colorado Open Records Act, The Colorado Statesman has learned.

Questions about ownership of the giant retailer — longtime owner Jim Shpall, who retained a 20-percent share of the business after bringing on the new investors, according to the records, boasted a few years back that it’s the “largest single liquor store in the country” — surround legislation introduced Tuesday to allow independent liquor stores to acquire eight additional liquor licenses in coming years instead of the three additional licenses allowed under current law.

Different organizations representing various locally owned, independent liquor retailers have been squaring off all session over the issue.

Opponents of House Bill 1370, which is scheduled for its first hearing Wednesday morning before the House Finance Committee, say the change would dismantle the delicate balance established in last year’s landmark overhaul of the state’s liquor licensing laws, ushering in an era of giant retailers with the ability to gobble up Colorado’s retail liquor landscape.

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