Two officials of the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and a local bar owner pleaded innocent yesterday in U.S. District Court to bribery and conspiracy charges involving an alleged scheme to set up a liquor store at the new Hechinger Mall.
A federal grand jury indictment handed up last week charged that the board's chairman, Robert C. Lewis, and its staff director, James E. Boardley, allegedly guaranteed bar owner Tommy M. Motlaugh a license for the store in exchange for a 3 to 5 percent interest in the store's profits.
Judge Charles R. Richey released all three men on personal recognizance and scheduled a hearing for Dec. 21. No trial date was set.
According to the indictment, Lewis allegedly contacted Hechinger officials at least four times between December 1979 and July 1980 to try to persuade them to consider Motlaugh's request for a liquor store license at the mall at 17th Street and Benning Road NE.
In December 1980, the indictment said, Lewis and Boardley met with two Hechinger employes and urged them to consider space for Motlaugh at the mall. One of those employes, Daniel Russell, was later warned by Boardley and Lewis that building permits for the mall could be delayed if Motlaugh were denied a lease there, the true bill asserted. At the time, Lewis was director of the city department that issues building and occupancy permits.