Hearing Date Moved; Buying Out the Bad Guys - 2/27/17

Hearing Date Moved; Buying Out the Bad Guys

bruce bonfleur

Street minister Bruce BonFleur doesn’t just forgive those who trespass against him. In a bold quest to undo the damage they cause, he hopes to hand them millions of dollars. BonFleur heads up Lakota Hope, a ministry that caters to those impacted by alcohol sales in Whiteclay, a 12-person Nebraska enclave that nonetheless moves over 3 million cans of beer per year from four liquor stores. These sales predominantly involve residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a legally dry jurisdiction which nonetheless suffers from crippling rates of alcoholism and alcohol-related harms.

BonFleur told the Omaha World-Herald that he plans to raise $6.3 million to purchase the town’s four liquor stores. State legislators have recently asked the liquor stores to reapply for their licenses, giving the state time to review the law enforcement strain created by the tiny town’s massive alcohol trade. This has created uncertainty among the store owners, which in turn allows a rare opportunity for BonFleur and allies to buy out and close up the stores once and for all.

First, of course, he needs the money. He has launched the nonprofit Whiteclay Redevelopment L3C to raise funds and share the Whiteclay story.

As for the store licenses themselves, the state rescheduled the hearings from March 7th to April 6th. The rescheduling follows a challenge to the Sheridan County (wherein Whiteclay is located) commissioners’ recommendation that the liquor licenses be renewed. If BonFleur is unsuccessful, state liquor board intervention remains the last, best hope to end Whiteclay’s ongoing public health disaster.

TAKE ACTION to tell the Nebraska legislature to save lives and shut down the Whiteclay liquor stores.