Last week, we got a letter from reader Marc Gaskins (see, if you write good letters you might get mentioned in LC Watch, so get typing) asking a pertinent question: Where do all the fines assessed by the Adjudication Board go? Every week we tell you about another business getting slapped with a $2,000 penalty. What becomes of all that dough?
For the answer, we called Liquor Commission Director Frank Silva. Silva said the money is placed in an account earmarked for educational outreach and training of licensees. As proof, he pointed to state statute §281-17 (3), which states that “any educational program shall be limited to licensees and their employees and shall be financed through the money collected from the assessment of fines against licensees.” In other words, as much as we like Mr. Gaskins’s suggestion that LC fines go to Maui’s cash-strapped schools—teaching kids the three Rs instead of teaching club owners how to keep people from dancing—state law expressly forbids such an act of intra-governmental altruism.
Now, as to whether the LC does or could pocket some of the penalty cash for its own internal needs: Re-read the statute carefully and you’ll see it only specifies educational programs must be paid for with money collected from fines, not that money collected from fines can’t also be put toward other things.
But Silva, pictured below, assured us that’s all the money’s used for. “We don’t get to have it,” he said.