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Posted on Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Judge rules city of Ypsilanti cannot have control of Brandy's Liquor Shoppe liquor license

By Katrease Stafford


Judge Timothy Connors ruled against the city and decided not to give the city control of the liquor license for the trouble Brandy's Liquor Shoppe in Ypsilanti. file photo

A Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge has ruled against the city of Ypsilanti and decided it cannot seize control of the Brandy’s Liquor Shoppe’s liquor license.

Ypsilanti City Council Member Pete Murdock said a hearing was held Thursday to seek an order that would have allowed the city to sell all of the store's personal property, including the liquor license. Judge Timothy Connors denied the motion.

"He ruled against the city and dismissed the case," Murdock said. "There was some issue of whether we could under the nuisance ordinance seize personal property and I think he (City Attorney John Barr) also was trying to include the personal liquor license, but the judge said that wasn’t part of his order from a year ago."

The store, at 902 W. Michigan Ave. near Summit Street, has been closed and padlocked for nearly a year after Connors entered an order on Aug. 3, 2011 stating Brandy’s had to remain closed until Aug. 4 of this year.

In August, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission decided that the license would remain in escrow, controlled by the MLCC, until it is transferred to a non-family member who is not associated in any way with the current owners, Sam and Kathy Hanna, and their son, Brian Hanna.

After Ypsilanti police and Michigan State Police investigations, the Hanna family faced seven charges that stemmed from incidents that occurred in 2010 and 2011.

The family was charged with receiving and concealing stolen property, five charges of sold, furnished or possessed alcoholic liquor on the licensed premises not purchased from an authorized source, and one charge of purchasing more than nine liters of spirits in one month.

Council Member Mike Bodary also attended the Thursday hearing and said the circuit court was not ready to take on the issue of the liquor license since the MLCC had its own ruling in August.

"The judge said in reviewing the whole thing, it was not his part to do that and he did not intend on getting into that part," Bodary said. "He said the 12-month padlock was acceptable."

Moving forward, Murdock said all the city can do is remain vigil.

"We’re sort of back to the monitoring stage," Murdock said. "Hopefully it will be a lot better than in the past but there’s no guarantee."

Several members of the community showed up for the hearing, as well as representatives from the Hanna family. Bodary said if and when new owners take over the store or liquor license, he is hopeful they are mindful of the community.

"There was disappointment but not necessarily a lot of surprise," he said. "We're certainly hoping that the new owners will respect the neighborhood and patrol and make sure there is no more drug dealing or prostitution."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Oct 8, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

Given what the Housing Commission has done, I don't think turning anyone loose with a liquor license at the city level is a good idea!


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

"Remain vigilant," not "vigil."

Honest Abe

Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

This is bad news. Brandy's Liquor Shoppe is bad news. The nearby homes and pedestrian traffic near that place has to deal with all the loiterers, loud groups in the parking lots and overall - nothing but trouble. This place enables crime. I am sure they will find a way to circumvent the criteria regarding the liquor license. Unfortunately, the citizens of Ypsilanti and residents who live withing a stone throw of this place can get prepared to most likely welcome this place back.


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Here we go again,Judge Connors an Engler appointee trying to make political hay as "a born again Democrat".This judge has violated so many tenants of good legal judgement that I'm surspried tht the Judicial Tenure Commisssion has not thown him out of office ( see CONNORS & Mrs.Connors are both employed by the U of M and the "good" judge rules on cases involving the Uof M. For a number of years Judge Connors has ruled on cases involving his personal divorce attorney as well as his former law firm or partners.Judge Connors listens to cases as well as rules on cases involving attorneys who have made contributions to his political endeavors..So much for fairness!Replace Judge Connors and stop the persistent corruption in the Washtenaw Court system.God Bless Mike Woodyard for saving us with fair and honest judgements.


Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.


Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

Ypsi needs more effective legal representation or better legal advice.

The Secret Team

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

Judge Connors did in fact make the right call here - because it is election time. Prosecutor Michael Woodyard is running against him; Mr Woodyard has now taken Connors to task over his history of egregiously bad court rulings. Michael Woodyard's campaign website has an "In The News" link and from there a subsection entitled "My Opponent's Record" one can click on. "My Opponent's Record" outlines many of the inane rulings of Connors which have been reversed in highly critical opinions of the Michigan Court of Appeals. "My Opponent's Record" also reveals that Connors had been previously cited by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission with a "cautionary letter" for employing court resources as campaign committee contact information for himself and also a second candidate for political office. While Judge Connors did make the correct call in the Sam and Kathy Hanna case cited above, it does not alter the history of Connors' sub-par and controversial conduct on the bench that warrants him being replaced from office. Prosecutor Michael Woodyard deserves to be elected to replace Judge Connors on the circuit court bench.

Kevin McNulty

Sun, Oct 7, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

I have known Judge Connors for years, sat in his courtroom many times in both the 15th District and the 22nd Circuit, and I have always felt his decisions are proper, he was a great judge and that if more of my cases were sent to his court, that would be no concern to me. But I am willing to review anyone's claims, so I did go to Mr. Woodward's website and under "In the News" I cannot find any link for "My Opponent's Record." Maybe I missed it? I also checked under "We like Mike," to see who is supporting him. I know who Kim Worthy is, but I do not recognize any of the others listed, particularly any prominent Ann Arbor attorneys or judges. Maybe he should move and run in Wayne county. I checked on those who support Mr. Woodyard: Judge Margie Braxton; she made news across the country when the Los Angeles Times wrote about her sentence of probation to a drunk Dad who had his nine year old daughter as his designated driver. The other judges and one magistrate are Wayne county officials, no scandals found. Where is the Washtenaw County legal community support? And where is "My Opponent's Record?" I am not saying Mr Woodyard would not be a good judge, but your support of him is not working out well IMHO.

greg, too

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

Mike, I think you are required to use your real name per the guidelines of if you are a civic official or running for office....

The Secret Team

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Oops! Forgot to give the link to the Michael Woodyard campaign committee website. That would be


Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

"one charge of purchasing more than nine liters of spirits in one month." Once I saw this charge I knew something wasn't exactly kosher here....that's normally a charge levied against bars and restaurant and NEVER a retailer. You see...the charge is specifically for purchasing 9 liters from a retailer, and retailers don't normally purchase beer, wine, and spirits from other retailers. If that charge is there....then they're just looking for anything they can get them on... This is also a monopoly fact this one and the previous 5 charges are both monopoly laws. I call them monopoly laws because these laws are designed for the SOLE purpose of forcing all wholesale liquor sales to be done at these PRIVATE wholesalers (govt regulated but STILL privately owned)....who are owned by......yeah who ARE they owned by again? Think we got approximately 70 of them total.


Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

a retailer is also not supposed to buy beer/liquor or even tobacco from other retailers in order not allow them to "hide" their sales from the tax authorities


Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Connors is being fair in his decision?? Must be election time...oh yea it is...