See Ya Later, Regulator

Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control could charitably be described as lax when it comes to enforcing state liquor laws. Despite repeated violations of state laws -- particularly selling beer to unlicensed businesses -- the department has levied only one fine against Hensley & Company in the past 30 years.

Shoddy recordkeeping by the department makes it impossible to track the outcome of some citations issued by liquor inspectors. In one case, the department summoned Hensley & Company officials to appear at a hearing. However, department records fail to show why the subpoena was issued and whether the hearing was ever held.

Department director Howard Adams refused repeated requests for an interview to discuss the department's handling of Hensley & Company.

The state Department of Public Safety failed to produce any records related to Hensley & Company in response to a New Times public records request. The department has issued several citations to the company. A chronological list of citations and enforcement actions follows:


August 30 -- Arizona Department of Public Safety officers stop two men after they removed four half-barrels of Budweiser from a loading dock. The men cannot produce an invoice for the beer and say they are taking the beer to the Italian-American Club. DPS issues a summons to James Hensley for selling beer to an unlicensed person. Neither DPS nor Department of Liquor Licenses and Control produced records indicating what happened in the case.


April 8 -- A Department of Public Safety investigation results in a DLLC cease-and-desist warning to Hensley & Company, ordering it to stop selling alcohol to unlicensed retailer El Greco Restaurant, 45 West Southern.

May 9 -- A DPS investigation results in a DLLC letter telling Hensley & Company that a change of ownership at the Court House, 811 East McDonald in Scottsdale, results in Hensley & Company selling liquor to an unlicensed business.

December 16 -- A DPS investigation results in a "strongly cautioned" DLLC warning letter after a Hensley & Company employee sells a case of beer to a worker at Pizza Over, 1127 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe.


August 7 -- DLLC issues a subpoena to Hensley & Company over the sale of 16 kegs of Budweiser to a nonlicensee on May 6, 1977. The subpoena demands Hensley & Company attend an October 5, 1977, hearing. The department released no additional records concerning the hearing.

September 1 -- DLLC vacates a citation issued to Hensley & Company on August 3, 1977, for selling alcohol to an unlicensed business, The Egyptian Motel, 765 Grand Avenue.


March 29 -- DLLC sends Hensley & Company a letter concerning the sale of beer to the unlicensed Egyptian Motel. DLLC asks Hensley to attend a meeting to develop a "system of unified knowledge and operation of laws so that when there is cause for one wholesaler to refuse a sale, there will be cause for all wholesalers to follow suit."


March 12 -- Hensley & Company applied for a new liquor license related to the change in a business location. On the sworn and notarized statement, James Hensley fails to disclose 1949 federal criminal conviction for falsifying liquor records.

June 30-August 3 -- Hensley & Company sells and delivers alcohol to unlicensed Pizza Castle, 3328 West Van Buren. DLLC issues a written warning on October 28.

July 27 and August 3 -- Hensley & Company sells and delivers alcohol to the unlicensed Agua Prieta Bar, 139 West Mohave. No action taken.

August -- Hensley & Company repeatedly sells and delivers alcohol to the unlicensed Santa Rita Restaurant, 1937 East Indian School. No action taken.

August 19-September 2 -- Hensley & Company is issued a warning for selling and delivering alcohol to the unlicensed Dirty Drummer, 1400 South McClintock in Tempe, on nine occasions, with the valuing exceeding $2,000.

September 20 -- DLLC writes to Hensley & Company, offering an "opportunity to visit" and discuss the violations related to the Dirty Drummer sales in a "confidential, non-formal meeting aimed at reaching a mutual agreement as to what action should be taken, if any, for the alleged violation."


April 29 -- Hensley & Company sells beer to unlicensed Mother Tucker's, 3113 East Lincoln Drive. DLLC issues a warning.


March 20 -- Hensley & Company sells and delivers alcohol to unlicensed Joe's Deli, 1800 West Bethany Home, on January 18. An invoice shows the salesman had written down Joe's Deli liquor license number, noted that it had expired a month earlier, and made the sale anyway.

Hensley & Company signs a consent decree with DLLC on March 20 and agrees to pay a $500 fine.


January 5 -- DLLC requests Hensley & Company attend a "confidential, non-formal meeting" to resolve a citation issued on October 31, 1995. The DLLC provided no records related to the October 31, 1995, citation.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >