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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board votes to suspend liquor license for The Black Diamond in Spokane Valley

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 31, 2020

Brandon Fenton, owner of The Black Diamond, makes drinks May 18. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has suspended Fenton’s liquor license as of Wednesday.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Brandon Fenton, owner of The Black Diamond, makes drinks May 18. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has suspended Fenton’s liquor license as of Wednesday. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has voted to issue an emergency liquor license suspension for the Black Diamond in Spokane Valley.

Board spokeswoman Julie Graham said the vote occurred Tuesday and the 180-day liquor license suspension will automatically take effect Wednesday afternoon if the Black Diamond refuses to comply with the state’s COVID-19 guidelines.

The Black Diamond, at 9614 E. Sprague Ave., had reopened for business earlier this month, following a second round of statewide restrictions that went into effect in November, suspending dine-in service for bars and restaurants.

As of last week, the board has received 73 complaints about the Black Diamond remaining open despite statewide restrictions, Graham said.

The Black Diamond has received three verbal warnings and two formal citations for COVID-19 related violations, Graham added.

“It is always our approach to start with an educational visit and talk to the owners and tell them what they need to do to comply,” Graham said. “The vast majority chooses to comply.”

The Black Diamond had reopened for a multitude of reasons, but the primary driver was to give employees the opportunity to earn a living through the holiday season, Black Diamond owner Brandon Fenton said in a phone call Wednesday afternoon.

Fenton said the establishment’s liquor license is still active and he will be speaking with an attorney to determine the next course of action.

“We don’t want government handouts. We don’t want to get unemployment and live off of that. We don’t want to get the next wave of PPP money,” Fenton said. “We would rather work for our money and have our lives free of government control.”

The Washington State Department of Revenue’s website indicates the Black Diamond’s liquor license was active as of Wednesday evening.

Fenton said he would like to see more research conducted on the origination of COVID-19 cases in the state and clarification from agencies on what constitutes “a threat to public safety.”

Fenton did not specify whether he will continue to remain open for dine-in service.

Someone posted on the Black Diamond Facebook page, however, that the business was planning a year-end party Wednesday evening.

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