WISAM 1, Inc. v. Illinois Liquor Control Commission 2014 IL 116173



Appellate citation: 2013 IL App (3d) 110607-U.


            JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.


      Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Karmeier, and Burke concurred in the judgment and opinion.


            The named appellant here, WISAM 1, Inc., began doing business as Sheridan Liquors on Sheridan Road in Peoria in 2002. Its owner and president was Adnan Asad. His two brothers, Mike and Jalal, managed and operated the store. In 2009, the latter two men were named in a federal indictment charging money laundering violations from 2003 to 2007. Jalal fled the country, and Mike, who was convicted in June of 2010, was sentenced to three years in prison. That summer, proceedings were begun for the revocation of the business’s liquor license which had been issued by the City of Peoria. The Peoria Municipal Code forbids liquor licensees from engaging in any activity prohibited by federal law. Ultimately, the deputy local liquor control commissioner issued a decision revoking the liquor license, and the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, acting under the Liquor Control Act, affirmed and denied rehearing. Sheridan Liquors sought administrative review in the circuit court of Peoria County, where the Commission’s revocation decision was affirmed. The appellate court also affirmed, and review was then sought by the licensee in the Illinois Supreme Court.

            The federal law involved here requires reporting of cash transactions over $10,000 and makes it illegal to break up transactions to avoid reporting. This was what the federal indictment alleged had been done. Numerous withdrawals from Sheridan Liquors’ bank account were made from different bank branches at different times, all under $10,000. The total was more than $4 million.

            The federal indictment described how the liquor store cashed checks for a fee. More cash was needed to do this than was brought in on a daily basis. Adnan, the owner, testified that the check cashing was directed at promoting the spending of money in the store, and that the business’s insurance coverage against robbery and theft limited the keeping of cash at the store to $10,000.

            Sheridan Liquors is no longer contesting whether revocation was an appropriate penalty, and it did not raise a sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim in its petition for leave to appeal. These issues have, therefore, been forfeited. However, the appellant has complained that it was denied due process. This is the issue dealt with here.

            In this decision, the supreme court held that Sheridan Liquors was not denied due process. It had a thorough opportunity to be heard at every stage of the proceedings by presenting relevant evidence and defenses. Procedural due process does not guarantee an outcome—it only guarantees a meaningful opportunity to be heard at every stage of the proceedings. That is what occurred here.

            The decision of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission was affirmed.