Henry Sawaged, owner of the world's largest booze store, now the city's biggest schmuck
This should have been a banner week for Hani "Henry" Sawaged, the owner of Daveco Liquors in Thornton, which in 2008 earned a nod as the world's largest liquor store from the Guinness World Records organization. After all, people were, and still are, buying booze by the barrelful in advance of Thanksgiving and the holiday season to follow.
Instead, Sawaged pleaded guilty Monday to violating Colorado's Organized Crime Control Act and was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution. That's a lot of Schnapps.
Sawaged, who will be sentenced January 4, and his two brothers were accused last year of manipulating their books in 2007 and 2008 and under-reporting their sales in order to pay less sales tax, according to news reports. The brothers, Ghassan and Bassam Sawaged -- have already pleaded guilty to theft and failure to file tax returns.
On Tuesday, Republican Congressman Mike Coffman's office said Coffman would return $2,250 that Sawaged gave to his campaign, according to 9News. Sawaged "contributed nearly $15,000 to Republican candidates and causes between 2002 and 2011," the story reads, including Pete Coors, Bob Beauprez, and Marilyn Musgrave.
So, the world's largest liquor store has now become the world's most crooked liquor store -- if it even stays open. Earlier this week, the Denver Post reported that "Craig Truman, attorney for Hani Sawaged...said the future of Daveco is 'unclear.'"
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.