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Spirit of free enterprise quashed in Vermont

Officials in Springfield, Vt., have denied a liquor license for a man who wanted to run a bar out of his "home." Turns out home is a state prison.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Town officials have denied a liquor license for a man who wanted to run a bar out of his "home."

Home, it turns out, is the state prison.

Paul Murphy of Worcester, Mass., is serving time at the Southern State Correctional Facility for aggravated assault, escape and passing bad checks.

He said in an application for a first- and second-class liquor license that he wanted to sell liquor from his home, which he listed as 700 Charlestown Road. That also happens to be the address of the state prison just east of downtown Springfield.

Regardless of the bid to have liquor delivered to a prison, town officials say many portions of the application were left blank.

"We determined that the application was incomplete," said Town Manager Robert Forguites.

Springfield officials were surprised to receive the application. They assumed prison officials would have caught it before it was sent and they believed the state Liquor Control Department also would have stopped it.

Prison officials say they review incoming mail in the presence of an inmate to ensure it doesn't contain contraband. But they don't look at mail sent by prisoners.

And Liquor Control Department officials say they had not received the application. They said they don't conduct a background check on an applicant until town officials have approved. If they'd received Murphy's, they said, it would have been rejected.