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NHGOP chair calls for investigation of councilor over liquor sales allegations

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

February 19. 2018 9:04PM
Executive Counselor Andru Volinsky (with hat) and Richard Gulla, president of the N.H. State Employees Association, are seen on Feb. 3, 2018, in surveillance footage strolling the stockroom of a Keene liquor store. 


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CONCORD — Citing “bizarre media reports,” the chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party on Monday called on the attorney general to investigate a “misguided sting operation” by Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky involving bulk sales of alcohol at state liquor stores.

The New Hampshire Sunday News described the flow of bootleg booze from New Hampshire to New York and beyond as a well-known pipeline in a Jan. 14 article.

After seeing the report in the New Hampshire Sunday News and fielding concerns from liquor store workers, Volinsky decided to do some investigating and went to a state liquor store, where he watched two people make a large purchase — paid for in cash. He took photos of the couple and sent them with a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.

“I write to call your attention to certain business practices of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission that may be illegal and unquestionably facilitates money laundering related to criminal activities,” he writes in a Feb. 13 letter. “I believe these troubling practices have been ongoing for some time. ... This information has come to my attention and I cannot ignore it.”

New Hampshire GOP Chair Jeanie Forrester released a statement Monday calling Volinsky’s allegations “bizarre.”

“As an elected official and an officer of the court, Councilor Volinsky ought to know the proper channels one should go through to investigate any potential wrongdoing,” said Forrester in a statement. “His entire ‘investigation’ reeks of political opportunism that placed Liquor Commission employees and customers at substantial risk. The Attorney General needs to investigate all aspects of Councilor Volinsky’s odd ‘investigation’ and his disturbing behavior during this troubling situation.”

Forrester is the second top Republican in the Granite State to criticize Volinsky for his allegations. Late last week Sununu told a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter he wants to examine both the methods employed by Volinsky to back up his complaint, along with the charges he leveled.

“I’ll say that obviously there are a lot of questions to be answered on both sides,” Sununu said.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has publicly criticized Volinsky’s actions, saying he may have violated customer privacy.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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