The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission has denied a new liquor license for a bar and restaurant near the Lincoln Airport, citing concerns that a father was trying to obtain the permit because his son can’t.
Luckie's Lounge and Grill, 1101 W. Bond St., may continue to operate under its existing license until October, but Wednesday's decision raises questions about the restaurant's future.
Spencer Gooden tried to apply for a new license Nov. 30, but a commission staffer told him he was ineligible because he had been convicted of assault. The conviction, a Class I misdemeanor, precludes him from holding a liquor license.
According to commission director Hobert Rupe, Gooden responded by telling Rupe, “I’ll just get my dad to do it, and I’ll run it."
Gooden returned the next day with his father, Mark Gooden, who applied for the license himself, according to Brenda Hiland, a liquor commission staffer who testified Wednesday during a public hearing before the commission's three-member appointed board.
Hiland said Spencer Gooden, not his father, answered most of the questions about how the business would be run. And a Lincoln police investigator testified that he saw a copy of the lease for the bar with both Goodens listed as responsible for making rent payments.
The Lincoln City Council denied a license for Luckie's in January, citing concern about possible hidden ownership. That prompted Wednesday's hearing.
Mark Gooden denied any hidden ownership and told the liquor commission his son is not a part of the ownership group.
The pair planned to run the business together, he said — with father running the bar and son overseeing the kitchen.
Spencer Gooden runs Little King Subs franchises and has experience in food service management that his father hoped would benefit Luckie's, Mark Gooden said.
Assistant Attorney General Milissa Johnson-Wiles expressed concerns that Spencer Gooden was acting as a manager already, having fired bartenders who were drinking on the job.
She said evidence showed that the bar would be mainly run by the son.
The commission's decision to deny the license was unanimous.
Luckie's is attached to the Travelodge Lincoln.