New Hampshire Liquor Commission

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The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says it has found no evidence of illegal activity related to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s handling of large, all-cash transactions at state-run liquor outlets.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is looking to hire armored cars and install safes at its retail stores as it manages huge quantities of cash.

The Liquor Commission released a request for proposals in August and says three armored car companies have submitted bids for a contract to service all 79 stores statewide. 

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Item No. 4 on the agenda seemed routine, even dull: a vote on “Cash Control and Security 2-11 Large Volume Sales Policy Revision.”

But within months, that one policy tweak would bring major changes -- and lots of cash -- to one of New Hampshire's most important money makers: state-run liquor stores.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is seeking to ban the president of one of the state’s largest labor unions from entering any state liquor store for the next six months.

The effort is an escalation in an ongoing dispute between the state agency and some of its workers over the proper handling of large all-cash transactions and allegations of bootlegging.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is making a bet on itself. The state agency is investing heavily in refurbished outlets and supermarket-sized new facilities. It’s part of a long-term strategy to increase sales and ward off competition from other states.

Lawmakers who count on liquor profits to help fund state government are watching closely to see if these expensive projects pay off, with some concerned about the early results.

A long-festering dispute between New Hampshire Liquor Commission management and the union employees who staff the state-run stores erupted in front-page headlines this week.

NHPR File Photo

Governor Chris Sununu says he's concerned by the public feud between the largest state employees union and the top managers of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.

But, as NHPR's Josh Rogers reports, he says the commission's top manager has his confidence.

JOE SHLABOTNIK / FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

The New Hampshire Legislature is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that cuts the Liquor Commission’s budget for the next fiscal year. The size of that cut, though, is far less than what’s called for under state statute.

Since 2015, there’s been a law in place that automatically reduces the Liquor Commission’s budgeted appropriation if the state-run liquor stores don’t generate a targeted amount of revenue for the general fund.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Around noon on November 9th of last year, a Black Chevy Suburban pulled up to a New Hampshire liquor store. The driver, a 46-year old Queens, New York resident named Juncheng Chen, bought some booze, then headed off to another liquor store to make another purchase.

Then another, then another.

  

In total, Chen bought liquor at six different New Hampshire stores that afternoon.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is denying allegations made by Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky that the state-run agency is engaging in questionable business practices surrounding all-cash transactions and possible money laundering.

N.Y. Department of Taxation

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says it is investigating how the state Liquor Commission handles large volume, all-cash sales at its retail outlets across the state.