Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Roth: “It’s lost,” is not an acceptable answer for 62,000 bottles of alcohol
RELEASE|March 21, 2024
Contact: John Roth

State Rep. John Roth is raising the alarm on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) after the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) uncovered widespread mismanagement within the commission. The MLCC is made up of five unelected governor appointees.

The OAG investigation revealed that more than 62,000 state-owned bottles of liquor were missing and uncovered extensive accounting failures. The value of the missing bottles totaled nearly $1 million, over 20 percent of its total inventory. The MLCC could not provide any information about the missing supply and was forced to process a refund to all vendors for the missing bottles.

“I wonder if the auditors felt like parents from an 80s movie coming home from a weekend away to find their decorations missing and water in the vodka bottles?” asked Roth, R-Interlochen. “I really hope the MLCC enjoyed themselves, because 62,000 bottles of anything probably ended up in one heck of a party. But now is the point in the movie where the kids learn their actions have consequences. The MLCC failed. Now, the Legislature must step in and clean up the mess.”

The MLCC manages spirit products by facilitating sales through authorized distribution agents (ADAs) using 11 state-owned warehouses. The OAG revealed that the MLCC failed to keep adequate sale and purchase records. From February 2021 to August 2022, $1.1 billion in spirit orders were not filed in the state’s online ordering system. The MLCC also gave liquor licenses to three organizations prohibited from selling alcohol. Sales from these three businesses totaled $272,139 from Jan. 1, 2018, to Aug. 5, 2022.

“These don’t seem like one-off mistakes. What the OAG found are long-standing failures at every level within the MLCC,” Roth said. “Systemic problems like this require immediate attention. The Legislature needs to look at how we can put better guardrails on the MLCC to ensure history cannot repeat itself. The governor needs to look introspectively at the people she’s appointing to lead state agencies. She installed the MLCC leadership. She owns these failures just as much as they do.”

In her recent budget proposal, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed the state drastically reduce funding for the OAG, which has exposed extensive incompetence, inefficiency, and fraud in its reviews of several state agencies and programs.

The governor’s proposed $8.3 million net budget cut to the people’s watchdog is coming under further scrutiny after Auditor General Doug Ringler sent a letter to House and Senate leaders. Ringler explained how the 28% funding reduction would kneecap the OAG’s ability to fulfill audit requirements and could even put federal funding at risk.


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