Head of liquor lobby steps down citing publicity over DWI arrest

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The president of the Anchorage group that lobbies on behalf of bars, restaurants and liquor stores is stepping down, citing publicity about his most recent drunk driving arrest.

Frank Dahl has headed the Anchorage Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association since helping to launch it a year ago.

He was arrested Dec. 3 on a charge of driving while intoxicated. Prosecutors said he has four previous DWI convictions.

Dahl said Monday that he is stepping down from the Anchorage group as well as the statewide organization because of publicity following his latest arrest.

''For the good of Anchorage CHARR, I will resign as its president,'' Dahl said.

He said he heard from about 20 people after his arrest was reported Feb. 1 on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News. About half those who contacted him said he should step aside as head of the group.

''He's doing the right thing,'' said John Pattee, vice president of Anchorage CHARR and owner of the Gaslight Lounge and Avenue Bar. ''He obviously cannot continue in this position, not with this hanging over him.''

The board plans to meet Wednesday afternoon on the matter, said Anchorage CHARR executive director Tom Anderson.

Bob Persons, owner of the Double Musky Inn in Girdwood and a board member of statewide CHARR, said people in the liquor industry must uphold high standards.

''In my opinion we sell the most destructive substance legally available and should be held accountable and should pay for the damage alcohol does through taxes,'' Persons said.

Dahl is in outpatient treatment while awaiting resolution of his case.

Dahl has two previous drunken driving convictions in Alaska that date to the 1970s and two in Wisconsin, in 1987 and 1996, municipal prosecutor Bruce Roberts said Monday. A fifth conviction, in 1990 in Minnesota, involved a refusal to take a breath test, Roberts said. In addition, a 2000 drunken driving charge in Anchorage was reduced to reckless driving.

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