A Denton County judge has thrown out election results from a year ago that legalized alcohol sales in the southeastern portion of the county.
The district judge invalidated the May 2009 election that designated Precinct 2 as "wet," citing a boundary issue. The precinct overlaps areas that were designated as "dry" in votes in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Alcohol distributors are shaken by the decision, which has put their business on ice and is stirring controversy.
Tom Welch took a leap of faith seven months after the May 2009 vote and opened True Spirits, a liquor store on West Parker Road in Hebron.
“We thought, once the election was certified by the county of Denton, we were in good shape and kind of got blindsided by this lawsuit filed by Frisco,” he said.
The city of Frisco was not the plaintiff in the case, but it helped a resident fund the lawsuit that led to the election's invalidation. Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said voters complained to him that they did not have a say in the election.
Part of Frisco is within Denton County’s Precinct 2.
“If you lived in that precinct and you went to your normal polling day location, you wouldn't have seen that item on that ballot," he said. "You would have had to go to another location to see it."
Welch, Denton County commissioners and others are expected to appeal the judge's ruling.
While the lawsuits fly, Welch said he has temporary peace of mind. His store's liquor license doesn’t expire until September 2011, and not even a revote can stop him from selling until at least then.
While the ruling is being challenged, no other liquor licenses are being issued.