Turkey Kick event liquor license overshadowed by handicapped ramp debacle
|October 13, 2013||Posted by admin under Bardstown, Nelson County||
By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 1:10 a.m. — I’ve missed a few Bardstown City Council meetings lately due to other pressing obligations, but I did make it to the last one, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013.
This meeting saw Louisville TV video crews joining me and BRTV’s D.W. in the front row; we typically cover the meetings anyway, the Louisville media were there to follow the handicap ramp issue, which has been covered in other stories published by The Nelson County Gazette.
But one story that may have been overlooked wasn’t even on the agenda for that night’s council meeting — the application by the organizers of Turkey Kick for a temporary event liquor license. Jamie Hodges, one of the people working on the event, was present in the audience and just as the meeting was about to end, he raised his hand to speak.
He asked Mayor Bill Sheckles about the application he submitted for the event liquor license, and Sheckles — who had just read his statement to the media about the ramp and called a liar by a friend of the little girl’s family — seemed to have little patience left.
“When you can come to me correct we’ll discuss your application,” Sheckles said firmly — more than once. Finally Hodges asked him what he meant by “coming correct” with his application. Sheckles told him the city does not grant event licenses to any organization that does not have a 501(c)3 status. “We don’t grant licenses to private groups or individuals, ” Sheckles explained.
Hodges told Sheckles he couldn’t find it in state law that the application had to be submitted by a non-profit group. Sheckles told him those where Bardstown’s rules. Hodges told him the only requirement the state had was the event had to be a true civic event. He argued that the Turkey Kick — which began as a fundraiser in 1979 — was truly a civic event.
Sheckles told him to bring a correct application to City Hall and it would be considered just as he closed the meeting.
Turkey Kick was originally a fundraiser that — if I recall correctly — benefited the Nelson County Association for the Handicapped. In 2007 that relation ended due to an undisclosed disagreement.
The problem that led to the need for an event license is reportedly a disagreement with the last stop on the Turkey Kick route, which for years was the old Holiday Inn on New Haven Road. The hotel has gone through a number of name changes, and today is a Howard Johnson. Judging by the reviews of people who stayed at the hotel for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, the hotel has a lot of work to do in terms of service, facilities and cleanliness (that’s what those who stayed there report, it isn’t my assessment). Anyway, a year or two back, the managers of the hotel — who allegedly agreed to host the big Turkey Kick party at the end of the route without charging a cover charge — unexpectedly asked Turkey Kickers for a cover charge. When no agreement could be reached, the Turkey Kick’s organizers decided to avoid using that hotel.
For this year’s Turkey Kick, the plan is to have the Bluegrass Exposition Center serve as the final stop; however the facility can’t serve alcohol without an event license. And according to the mayor, he won’t approve an alcohol license for Turkey Kick unless it is a non-profit organization — which it is not.
If it isn’t a non-profit organization, one has to ask just who it benefits? It no longer has a connection with the Nelson County Association for the Handicapped. Hodges said a donation from proceeds would go to American Legion Post 121, but what about the rest?
RULES DON’T REQUIRE SPECIAL EVENTS TO BE TIED TO A NON-PROFIT. Despite the Mayor’s statements at last Tuesday’s council meeting, the city’s own alcohol ordinance does not require an applicant for a special event liquor license to be part of a non-profit organization. The application for a special event liquor license (available for download on the city’s website) never mentions a requirement that the applicant is part of a non-profit organization.
This leads one to wonder if the issue is incorrect paperwork — as the mayor suggests — or if the mayor is spoiling a grudge for the man behind Turkey Kick, Jack Hurst. Hurst’s Shirt Shop business is believed to be responsible for the Bardstown Money Gang T-shirts that prompted threats of retaliation by the gang against anyone who wore one.
Or perhaps the mayor, as the official ABC administrator, simply wants to discourage the use of event licenses for events that stand to profit the organizer rather than a true charitable cause. I plan to follow up on this, and should have more information coming up on the Gazette soon.