Inspector for state liquor-license board arrested on bribery, extortion charges

An inspector for the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission was arraigned today on charges he offered to help a convicted felon get a liquor license in Everett - for a fee - the Middlesex County District Attorney's office reports.

Arthur Hitchman, 39, of Melrose, was arraigned in Malden District Court on charges of attempted extortion, bribery, and two counts of improper storage of a firearm. Wicked Local Melrose reports Hitchman is also a former Melrose alderman.

According to the DA's office, Hitchman heard the man was looking to open a restaurant under a female relative's name to get around the state law that prohibits convicted felons from obtaining liquor licenses and offered to help for $3,000 in cash. In May, an undercover state trooper gave the money to Hitchman - who then offered to help him get illegal video poker machines - the DA's office says. The DA's office adds the ABCC cooperated with the investigation.

Innocent, etc.

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    Comments

    Sure, but they are

    Sure, but they are artificially limited, like cab medallions, thus distorting the market. It should be like getting a medical or driving license, there are criteria you have to pass to get it, but there are an infinite amount available. Of course, part of the criteria can be neighborhood feedback, so they don't flow like candy.

    Licenses should depend on qualifications

    The idea that "only so many licenses" for stores or cabs sets the system up for corruption. Can you imagine what might happen if the state arbitrarily decided that only a certain number of driver's licenses could be issued?

    If you meet requirements and maintain that qualification, you should have a license. It shouldn't be who you pay or know or even what town you are in.

    On the flip side, the state could get a bit more stringent about who is allowed to keep licenses - like, people who are no longer fit to drive or don't know and won't learn the rules.