Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on May 30, 2013

Written by Kristine Dunkerton

Liquor Board proceedings got under way a little after 1:30 pm, minutes after Chairman Fogleman and Commissioner Smith arrived.  Chairman Fogleman apologized for the delay, explaining that a staff meeting had gone over.  Commissioner Jones arrived during the decision phase of the first hearing.

1:00 pm Docket:

Establishment address: 601 E. Pratt Street, 21202

Establishment Trade name: Hard Rock Café

Hearing time: 1:31-1:36 pm

License type: B Beer, Wine, & Liquor  (all alcohol may be sold from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to Baltimore CityView): B-5-1 (Central Commercial District)

Neighborhood (according to Baltimore CityView): Inner Harbor

Area demographics (as of 2010, from the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA)): 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian.  3% Hispanic ethnicity.  11% households have children under age 18.  Median household income: $78,578.  12% households live below poverty line.

Name of associated corporate entity: Hard Rock Café International (STP)

Does the associated corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to the website of the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT))?  Yes, yes

Reason for hearing: Application to add outdoor seating

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee: Mr. Charles Brooks, Charles E. Brooks Law Offices, Towson, MD

# of people there in support of licensee: 2 (plus 2 in audience)

Attorney for community: N/A

# of protestants: 0

# of inspectors present: 0

Notes from hearing:  The Board mentioned that it had allowed the establishment to open over Memorial Day weekend, before outdoor seating was officially approved.  Tom Yeager from Downtown Partnership testified that the Partnership did not oppose the application.

Result of hearing: Outdoor seating approved

What the vote was: ?

Portions of state law and/or Board Rules and Regulations Commissioners cited in decision: MD Code Article 2B § 10-202(a) (“Before approving an application and issuing a license, the board shall consider: 1) The public need and desire for the license; 2) The number and location of existing licensees and the potential effect on existing licensees of the license applied for; 3) The potential commonality or uniqueness of the services and products to be offered by the applicant’s business; 4) The impact on the general health, safety, and welfare of the community, including issues relating to crime, traffic conditions, parking, or convenience; and 5) Any other necessary factors as determined by the board.”)

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision: N/A

Issues raised in the audit present in this case: N/A

__________

Establishment address: 801 E. Fort Avenue, 21230

Establishment Trade name: Lime

Hearing time: 1:37-1:41 pm

License type: D Beer, Wine, & Liquor (Tavern license, alcoholic beverages may be sold from 6 am to 1 am, no Sunday sales)

Zoning (according to CityView): B-2-2 (Community Business District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Riverside

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA): 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian.  3% Hispanic ethnicity.  15% households have children under age 18.  Median household income: $73,342.  8% households live below poverty line.

Name of associated corporate entity: MAC Hospitality Group

Does the associated corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)?  Exists; not in good standing as of day of hearing; in good standing as of June 5

Reason for hearing: Request to reopen after being closed for 3 consecutive months

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee: N/A

# of people there in support of licensee: 1

Attorney for community: N/A

# of protestants: 0

# of inspectors present: 1

Notes from hearing: In an April 11 decision, the Liquor Board had ordered that the applicant needed to request to reopen by the end of the day on May 30, 2013.  At the hearing on May 30, the applicant said that the establishment would open right away.  The inspector asked about lights and bar stools on the 2nd floor.  The applicant explained that the second floor is an apartment and was temporarily used for storage.  The Board clarified that the license does not extend to the second floor and the applicant will need to make a request if he wishes to extend alcohol sales to the second floor.

Result of hearing: Request to reopen granted.

What the vote was: ?

Issues raised in the audit present in this case: N/A

_________

Establishment address: 1 E. Chase Street

Establishment Trade name: Truffles at the Belvedere (The Owl Bar)

Hearing time: 5/30, 1:42-2:30 pm

License type: B Beer, Wine, & Liquor (all alcohol may be sold from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView): B-4-2 (Central Business District)  (The applicant stated that she had received minor privilege approval from the Zoning Board, but did not present a copy of the Zoning approval to the Liquor Board.)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Mt. Vernon / Mid-town Belvedere

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA): 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5 % households live below poverty line

Name of associated corporate entity: Truffles at the Belvedere, LLC

Does the associated corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)? Yes, yes

Reason for hearing: Application to add outdoor table service

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee: N/A

# of people there in support of licensee: 3 (The licensee, her husband, and Councilman Carl Stokes)

Attorney for community: N/A

# of protestants: (1: Jason Curtis of the Mid-town Belvedere Association asked for a postponement in order for the applicant to meet with Belvedere residents.)

# of inspectors present: 1 (Inspector Howard)

Notes from hearing: When the applicant expressed confusion at why the community association was asking her to acquire signatures in support of her application from 60 of the 114 condominium units in the Belvedere, Commissioner Smith explained that “a liquor license is not a right – it’s a privilege.  And it’s based on the community’s need and desire.”  Commissioner Smith also asked the applicant if she had received a letter from the Liquor Board, dated May 17, 2013, asking her to contact the community association.  The applicant stated that she had received the letter, but wasn’t aware she was supposed to reach out specifically to the Mid-town Belvedere Association.  In explaining his reason for denying the Mid-town Belvedere Association’s request for postponement, Chairman Fogleman stated that he thought that the applicant did know she was supposed to contact the Mid-town Belvedere Association, but he also thought that either the association or the applicant should have made the meeting happen already.

Result of hearing: Application for outdoor seating (4 tables with 4 seats each) granted for the Owl Bar only (not for any of Truffles’ other establishments).

What the vote was: 2:1 (Chairman Fogleman and Commissioner Jones in favor, though Chairman Fogleman stated concerns about a rift between the applicant and the Mid-town Belvedere Association; Chairman Smith against)

Portions of state law and/or Board Rules and Regulations Commissioners cited in decision: Md Code Article 2B § 10-202(a): public need and desire of the entire community.

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision:  Councilman Stokes appeared in support of the application.  In the Liquor Board’s file, there was more evidence of support from Belvedere residents than opposition from Belvedere residents.

Issues raised in the audit present in this case: N/A

__________

Establishment address:  20-30 W. Baltimore Street

Establishment Trade name: Lord Baltimore Hotel

Hearing time: 5/30, 2:32-2:42 pm

License type: BHM Beer, Wine, & Liquor (license for a hotel with 100 or more rooms and at least $500,000 in capital investment, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView): B-4-2 (Central Business District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Downtown

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA): 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3 % 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line

Name of associated corporate entity: Lord Baltimore Licensee, LLC

Does the associated corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)?  Yes, yes

Reason for hearing: Transfer of ownership and add live entertainment

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee: Adam Block, Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP

# of people there in support of licensee: 3 (including 1 Liquor Board inspector, Jeff Gray, who said the administration at the hotel is very cordial, and Tom Yeager of Downtown Partnership)

Attorney for community: N/A

# of protestants: 0

Notes from hearing: N/A

Result of hearing: Transfer and live entertainment granted

What the vote was: ?

Portions of state law and/or Board Rules and Regulations Commissioners cited in decision: Md Code Article 2B § 10-202(a)

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision: Chairman Fogleman thanked the applicant for investing in Baltimore.

Issues raised in the audit present in this case: N/A

__________

Establishment address: 805 S. Broadway

Establishment Trade name: Ellington’s

Hearing time: 5/30, 2:43-2:57 pm

License type: BD7 Beer, Wine, & Liquor (Tavern, alcohol may be sold for consumption on site or off premises, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView): B-3-2 (Community Commercial District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Fells Point

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA): 70% White, 8 % Black, 5% Asian; 15% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $69,105; 11% households live below poverty line

Does the applicant own property in Baltimore City?  Yes

Name of associated corporate entity: Dukie Ellington’s, LLC

Does the corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)? Yes, yes

Reason for hearing: Transfer of ownership and location (from 4219 Curtis Ave.); request for outdoor table service

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee: Melvin Kodenski

# of people there in support of licensee: 1

Attorney for community: N/A

# of protestants: 1 (Joanne Masopust of Fells Point Community Association)

# of inspectors present: 1 (Inspector Brooks)

Notres from hearing:  Planned hours of operation: 11 am – 8 pm weekdays, 11 am – 9/10 pm weekends.  Joanne Masopust requested a postponement so that the applicant could meet with the Fells Point Community Association.  The applicant already met with the Fells Point Residents Association, and did not have a letter from this association in support or in opposition to his application to present to the Liquor Board.

Result of hearing: Postponed to June 13 (to give applicant a chance to present at June 11 Fells Point Community Association meeting)

What the vote was: ?

Portions of Art. 2B Commissioners cited in decision: N/A

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision: The proposed license would be a new license in the neighborhood (not simply a transfer), so the Liquor Board wants to ensure that the community has a chance to hear the plan.

Issues raised in the audit present in this case: N/A

__________

Establishment address: 300 E. Saratoga Street

Establishment Trade name: N/A

Hearing time: 5/30, 2:58-3:00 pm

License type: BD7 Beer, Wine & Liquor (Tavern, alcohol may be sold for consumption on site or off premises, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView): B-5-2 (Central Commercial District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Downtown

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA): 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3 % 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line

Name of associated corporate entity: N/A

Does the associated corporate entity exist (according to SDAT’s website)?  N/A

Reason for hearing: Status of license (10-504)

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee:  N/A

# of people there in support of licensee: 1

Attorney for community:  N/A

# of protestants: 0

Notes from hearing:  This was a request for a second hardship extension.  One hardship extension was already granted 6 months ago.

Result of hearing: Hardship extension granted.  Chairman Fogleman said this was the last hardship extension the Liquor Board would grant to the establishment.

What the vote was: ?

Portions of state law and/or Board Rules and Regulations Commissioners cited in decision: N/A

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision: N/A

Issues raised in the audit present in this case:

Expired license: Audit finding 19 states that “[s]tate law requires that, 180 days after a licensed establishment has closed or has ceased active alcoholic beverage operations, the alcoholic beverage license shall expire except under defined circumstances….Licensees may also submit a written request for a hardship extension within the 180-day period.  The law further states that its intent is that the total time for which a license may be deemed unexpired is 180 days, or 360 days if an undue hardship extension has been granted.”  The Audit also recommended “that the Board discontinue granting additional hardship extensions beyond that permitted by law.”  The Executive Secretary’s response to this Recommendation was that the Board would “continue to rely upon balanced judgment, case law [none cited] and appellate review, until instructed to do otherwise by an appropriate legal authority.”  In response, the Auditor cited the clear language of Md Code Article 2B § 10-504(d), stating that all licenses expire by operation of law after 360 days from the date of closure, and advised that should the Liquor Board wish “to continue its current practices, it should obtain formal independent legal advice to support its practices.”

2:00 pm Docket:

Establishment address: 1609 Bank Street

Establishment Trade name: Club Confetti

Hearing time: 3:58-6:30 pm

License type: BD7 Beer, Wine & Liquor (Tavern, alcohol may be sold for consumption on site or off premises, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView): R-8 (General Residence District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView): Fells Point

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA):  70% White, 8 % Black, 5% Asian; 15% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $69,105; 11% households live below poverty line

Name of associated corporate entity: Club Confetti, Inc.

Does the corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)?  Yes, no

Reason for hearing: Violations

# and type of alleged violations: 6: Rule 3.12 (“Licensees shall operate their establishments in such a manner as to avoid disturbing the peace, safety, health, quiet, and general welfare of the community.”); Rule 3.01 (“Every licensee shall be the actual owner and operator of the business conducted on the licensed premises.  The identity of any person, not a licensee, having any financial interest in said business shall be disclosed to the Board in writing.”); Rule 3.03(c) (“Licensees shall keep on their premises records containing the legal names, aliases, addresses, ages , and Social Security numbers of all persons employed by them.  Such records shall be open for inspection at all times by duly authorized representatives of the Board, the Police Department of Baltimore City, and other governmental agencies.”); Rule 4.02 (“No licensee shall sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to any person under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs or who is disorderly in manner or to any person known to be a habitual drunkard or user of narcotic drugs.”); Rule 4.01(a) (“No licensee shall sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to any person under twenty-one (21) years of age or to any person with the knowledge that such person is purchasing or acquiring such beverages for consumption by any person under twenty-one (21) years of age.) and/or Art 2B §12-108(d) (“No licensee, proprietor, or operator of any establishment dispensing alcoholic beverages shall permit the consumption or possession of any alcoholic beverages by a person under the age of twenty-one years upon said premises no matter by whom such alcoholic beverages shall have been purchased or from whom obtained.” 

Attorney for licensee:  Melvin Kodenski

# of people there in support of licensee: approximately 4

Attorney for community:   N/A

# of protestants:  9 (including 1 inspector & 3 police officers)

# of inspectors present: 2 (Inspector Fitzgerald arrived to the hearing after it had been underway for about an hour and a half)

Notes from hearing:  Police officers testified about an assault and other incidents at the club, including the manager of the club not having required employee documentation on hand.  The police officers said they were not summoned by the Liquor Board, rather received a call from their Major that the hearing was to take place.  Chairman Fogleman said it looked to him like they had been summoned, but the police officers said they did not receive any documentation from the Liquor Board.  Other police officers had written the police reports for additional incidents, but were not in attendance, possibly because they had not received summons either.

Result of hearing:  License revoked

What the vote was: [Author was unable to stay for the end of the hearing]

Portions of Art. 2B Commissioners cited in decision:  [Author was unable to stay for the end of the hearing]

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision:  [Author was unable to stay for the end of the hearing] 

3:00 pm Docket:

Establishment address: 408 S. High Street

Establishment Trade name:  Anché

Hearing time: 3:17-3:34

License type: BD7 Beer, Wine & Liquor (Tavern, alcohol may be sold for consumption on site or off premises, privilege granted from 6 am to 2 am)

Zoning (according to CityView):  B-3-2 (Community Commercial District)

Neighborhood (according to CityView):  Little Italy

Area demographics (as of 2010, from BNIA):  58% Black, 29% White, 5% Asian; 7% Hispanic ethnicity; 29% of households have children under age 18

Name of associated corporate entity:  Pane e Vino, Inc.

Does the associated corporate entity exist and is it in good standing (according to SDAT’s website)?  Yes, yes

Reason for hearing: Transfer ownership & location of B license held by “secured creditor” at 200 W. Pratt St. & change to BD7

# and type of alleged violations: N/A

Attorney for licensee:  Gary Maslan

# of people there in support of licensee: 1

Attorney for community:   N/A

# of protestants:  1

# of inspectors present: 0

Notes from hearing:  This was the decision phase of a hearing that already took place.  Before the last hearing, the Little Italy Property Owners Association (LIPOA) had presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the Liquor Board that it hoped the applicant would sign.  At the hearing, Gary Maslan, attorney for the applicant, presented a similar-looking MOU with the applicant’s signature and said that LIPOA had voted in favor of the agreement.  Upon examination, the Board found that LIPOA had not signed the MOU Gary Maslan presented, and the MOU Gary Maslan presented lacked several crucial components included in LIPOA’s MOU.  Chairman Fogleman stated to Maslan, “You were less than forthcoming with the Board,” and then later, “We don’t hold it against counsel.”

Result of hearing:  Transfer granted

What the vote was:  ?

Portions of state law and/or Board Rules and Regulations Commissioners cited in decision:  Md Code Article 2B § 10-202(a)

Other reasons Commissioners gave for decision:  LIPOA did not come forward with opposition. 

            *NOTE: After the hearing, the protestant, a resident of Little Italy, informed the author that Little Italy had been told that if no MOU was signed, the license wouldn’t go through, and they didn’t know they had to submit anything else to the Liquor Board.

Issues raised in the audit present in this case:  N/A

__________

 

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: While the author makes every effort to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on this blog, the accuracy of some information is subject to change and cannot be guaranteed. Neither the author nor the publisher is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information in this blog is provided “as-is,” with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness, or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. This blog is not intended to do harm to, defame, libel, or malign any religious or ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or government entity. In no event will the author, her employer, or the publisher be liable to you or anyone else for any action taken in reliance on the information in this blog or for any consequential, special or similar damages incurred, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

The materials contained on this website have been prepared by Community Law Center, Inc. for informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

Copyright: Text, photos and other materials found on this website are the property of CLC, except where otherwise noted. Such materials may not be reproduced without CLC’s written prior consent.