Buying Influence for Liquor Licenses


Mayor John Dickert in a deposition discussing pay to play and his interactions with Doug Nicholson. Nicholson sits on the City Redevelopment Board and ironically, the City Ethics Board, raising important questions and concerns of unfair business advantages and conflict of interest. The purpose of this episode is to show the dysfunction of having a private enterprise operating the RDA. Also, influencing the public agenda toward the concerns of the non-elected officials.

The lawsuit states that on two occasions in 2009, Nicholson gave Zachary Williams, then-finance director and general strategist for the Dickert campaign, $1,000 in bank-wrapped $100 bills from a safe in his bar, telling him that the money was from a campaign fundraiser. In the first instance, the lawsuit alleges that Nicholson told Williams that money had been put in a jar that he had placed on the bar, so there was no way to know who had contributed or how much money they had given. The complaint alleges that Williams had been at the fundraiser and remembers that there had been no jar, and that donations had been taken by check.

In the second instance, the complaint claims that Nicholson gave Williams $1,000 in cash from his safe, told him the money was a from a fundraiser, and that the money should be reported “as a campaign contribution of various unknown amounts from various unknown individuals.”

In response to those claims, Nicholson’s answer states that Nicholson, the “answering defendant, exercising his rights under Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, respectfully declines to answer any of those allegations on the grounds that his answers might tend to incriminate him

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