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Two popular Riggins taverns say they've been targeted in an Idaho State Police sting operation and have lost their liquor licenses.
ISP Alcohol Beverage Control agents walked into the Salmon River Inn and the Seven Devils Bar last week and physically removed the licenses. Both taverns will have an opportunity to argue against the action at a formal hearing at ISP's Meridian headquarters on Wednesday, April 13.
According to this morning's Lewiston Tribune, Michael Blimka, owner of the Salmon River Inn, attempted to transfer an existing liquor license from a former location to its present spot, the basement of Summerville's Cafe and Bar, which already had its own liquor license. Blimka told the Tribune that ISP was supposed to perform an inspection of the premises, but instead conducted a "sting" operation and pulled his license.
The Tribune also reports John Belton, listed as manager of the Seven Devils Bar, has been paying Blimka to operate that tavern. ISP is alleging the contract between Belton and Blimka isn't valid, but Blimka argued ISP never came to the tavern to "tell ... what the problem is."
Meanwhile, Riggins now has one bar with a valid license—Summerville's—but both Blimka and Belton said that's not enough to handle the town's patrons, especially since the annual spring jet boat races are scheduled to come to town next weekend.