Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on October 10, 2013.

Written by Becky Witt

Commissioners Fogleman, Jones, and Smith in attendance.

1:00 p.m. cases

Applicant Warren Norris, Jr
Business Name Michael’s Charles Street, LLC
Trading As trade name pending
Address 1100-06 S. Charles Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership of a Class “D” BWL license presently located at 1400 Light Street to 1100-06 S. Charles Street
Hearing notes

Chairman Fogleman announced that the case had been administratively postponed. The Chairman noted that the postponement had already been reported in the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

The applicant later withdrew his application entirely.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $78,578.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No, the entity does not exist.
Location of entity’s principal office N/A – does not exist.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? ?
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident ?
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors N/A
Result of hearing Postponed.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.
Applicant Minh Hoang
Business Name Broadway Group, LLC
Trading As Rye
Address 807 S. Broadway
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Ms. Joanne Masopust testified on behalf of the Fells Point Community Organization (FPCO). She testified that the applicant and his attorney, Mr. Frank Boozer, met with FPCO on October 8. The applicant voluntarily signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FPCO. A condition that FPCO added to the MOU is that establishment agrees not expand into adjacent properties.

Since the Board and Mr. Boozer were waiting for the applicant to appear at the hearing, the Board allowed Ms. Masopust to read the entirety of the MOU into the record.

The decision phase of the hearing was postponed for a week, because the business entity for the establishment (Broadway Group, LLC) was not in good standing with the state of Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation. Postponement of hearings for cases in which the business entity is not in good standing seems to be a brand-new Board policy.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Fells Point
Area demographics 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 the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 8513 Carrollton Parkway, New Carrollton, MD 20784
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? ?
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident ?
Attorney for licensee Mr. Frank Boozer
# in support 1
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing The rest of the hearing was continued, because of the business entity’s lack of good standing.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case

Finding 1 of the Audit found that BLLC lacked formal written policies to guide the licensing process. Though CLC applauds the incremental improvements to the licensing process, BLLC staff still seem to lack formal written policies to help them process applications. For example, this case was scheduled for a hearing by BLLC staff, though the LLC on the application was not in good standing.

Applicant Ki Jeong Lee
Business Name Old Clubhouse, Inc.
Trading As Whispers
Address 1807-11 Baker Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

The applicant, Mr. Lee, will be operating the establishment; he won’t be making any changes to the premises except cosmetic changes. According to the information provided in the application, Mr. Lee has “extensive experience” and has maintained an excellent relationship with neighbors and neighborhood associations. Chairman Fogleman noted that the establishment “looks like it has a pretty quiet history” and that “hopefully [Mr. Lee] will keep it that way.” Commissioner Jones reminded the licensee that he may need permits from city agencies to make the changes that he plans.

Chairman Fogleman checked the property ownership and voter registration of the character witneses and the good status of the business entity on the application.

The applicant testified that the business was purchased for $190,000.

Zoning B-1-2
Neighborhood Sandtown-Winchester
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 0% Hispanic ethnicity; 73% households have children under age 18; median household income: $23,974
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office 1807 Baker St, Baltimore, MD 21217
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? ?
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident ?
Attorney for licensee Mr. David Woo
# in support 1
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Inspector Ray.
Result of hearing Approved.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law 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 given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case None
Applicants David Newman & Cara Bruce
Business Name Blue Pit, LLC
Trading As Blue Pit BBQ
Address 1601 Union Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

The applicants testified that the establishment is currently called Ashbury Pub, and that they are applying for a transfer of ownership only (not a transfer of location). Mr. Newman emailed the Hampden Community Council for a statement of support; the HCC advised the applicants that, since this was an application for transfer of ownership, not location, the HCC would not oppose the transfer. The applicants also submitted a letter of support from Hampden Village Merchants’ Association.

The total purchase price for the establishment is $300,000. Mr. Newman is a trained chef and will be the full-time operator. The concept is a fast casual barbeque restaurant. The other applicant, Ms. Bruce, will be doing some marketing for the business but will not be spending much time working at the restaurant.

The establishment will be open seven days per week, from 11:00 am to 2:00 am. The license allows live entertainment, which will probably be limited to an occasional DJ and karaoke. The applicants may have bands play at the establishment at some point. The applicants fully understand their obligations to be good neighbors and will try not to disturb the peace of the neighborhood. The applicants don’t plan to have any live entertainment outside.

Chairman Fogleman noted that the applicants’ LLC listed as active and in good standing on the SDAT website and that the character witness signatories were all registered voters and real property owners in Baltimore City.

Zoning M-2-1
Neighborhood Hampden
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office 2956 Keswick Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community None/unrepresented
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Inspector Jeffrey Ray
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law 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 given for decision The letter of support from the Hampden Village Merchants Association. Mr. Newman has experience in restaurant work from the Paper Moon Diner.
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.
Applicants Rupal Sheth, Mittal Sheth & David C. Smith, Sr.
Business Name Shree, LLC
Trading As Redfish Liquors
Address 4001 Falls Road
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

The applicants testified that they met with the community on at least two occasions. They currently own a Dunkin’ Donuts in the community, so they are familiar with the neighborhood. The applicants reached an agreement with the community, which they offered to the Board. The Board adopted the MOU with the Medfield Community Association letterhead (There were multiple versions of the MOU.).

Chairman Fogleman noted that, according to the Board’s check with the Board of Elections and SDAT property records, the character witness signatures are in order. He added that an internet check of Shree, LLC on SDAT shows that LLC is active and in good standing as of the day before the hearing.

Mary Pat Clarke, City Council member for the 14th district, testified that Red Fish Liquors had been a source of serious problems for the community under the previous owners’ management. She added that she is very hopeful that this transfer to an entirely different set of licensees will be a positive change. She was very pleased with the meetings that the community has had with the new owners, and she is hoping for the best.

Erin Bolton testified on behalf of Medfield Community Association in support of the application. She read the list of voluntary restrictions into the record from the MOU.

Chairman Fogleman thanked the community members and the applicants for negotiating in good faith.

Commissioner Smith asked whether the inventory of the store was going to change under the new ownership. The applicants replied that it would likely stay the same.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Hampden
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office 4001 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? ?
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident ?
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 6
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Inspector Ray
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law 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 given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.

2:00 p.m. cases

Applicants Meenakshi Sharma & Andrea Allen
Business Name L and M Enterprises, Inc.
Trading As Lou’s Bar & Liquors
Address 4819-25 Eastern Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

The applicant withdrew her request for live entertainment at the hearing.

Around 8-10 people from the Greektown neighborhood appeared at the hearing in opposition to the transfer of ownership. The Executive Director and Office Manager from Greektown Community Development Corporation testified that the establishment was poorly run, with loitering and petty crime issues. Since the applicant is the current manager of the establishment, the community members testified that they felt the transfer should be denied.

City Councilman Jim Kraft sent in a letter in support of the community associations’ position on the transfer.

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young also sent in a letter expressing support of the Greektown CDC’s position. Mr. Kodenski, the licensee’s attorney, objected because the letter was “late,” signed on October 8.

Father Michael L Pastrikos from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church submitted a letter to the Board as well as a ten-page-long petition against the transfer, with signatures from parishioners and other community members. Father Pastrikos testified that he has seen people overdrinking every single day who loiter outside the building and that when he walks by, there are usually at least ten people outside. The loiterers yell, ask for money, and bother pedestrians.

Other community members echoed these concerns.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Greektown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian; 30% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,987.50
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no
Location of entity’s principal office 4819 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD 21224
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 3
Attorney for community None/unrepresented
# of protestants 8-10
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing The hearing was continued for two weeks, because the business entity was not in good standing.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case

Finding 1 of the Audit found that BLLC lacked formal written policies to guide the licensing process. Though CLC applauds the incremental improvements to the licensing process, BLLC staff still seem to lack formal written policies to help them process applications. For example, this case was scheduled for a hearing by BLLC staff, though the LLC on the application was not in good standing.

Applicants Kyun Man Kim & Eun Hee Kim
Business Name Kyun Man, Inc.
Trading As New Edison Lounge
Address 3133-35 E. Monument Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

The applicants asked at the hearing to withdraw their request for live entertainment.

Mr. Kim will be the 100% owner of business. He has worked full time as a manager of a liquor store for five years. He is buying the property and is not going to make major changes to it beyond installing some cameras and lights. He has talked with the Ellwood Park Improvement Association president and he plans to meet with the group to discuss any community concerns. The group’s concerns were about live entertainment, but the applicant has withdrawn his request. He currently lives in Baltimore County, but he may move to live in the apartment upstairs from the store.

Mr. Kim’s sister is also an applicant, but she is just the required city resident for the application. She will not be involved with the store.

City Councilman Branch was present at the hearing in support of the Ellwood Park Improvement Association and offered a letter from EPIA stating that they do oppose the request for live entertainment.

Chairman Fogleman checked the character witnesses’ voter registration and property ownership information as well as the current SDAT status of the business entity on the application.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Ellwood Park/Monument
Area demographics 3% White, 90% Black, 1% Asian. 4% Hispanic ethnicity. 51% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $33,352.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3133-35 E. Monument St, Baltimore, MD 21205
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2 (applicant + Councilman Branch)
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Inspector Michael Hyde
Result of hearing Transfer of ownership approved.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law 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 given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.
Licensees Sherry Hogan & Gerard Hogan
Business Name V.J.V., Inc.
Trading As Hogan’s Alley
Address 1501 Covington Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of 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 beverage for consumption by any person under twenty-one (21) years of age” (Re: alcoholic beverage sold to minor on May 30, 2013).
Hearing notes

The licensees admitted the violation.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Riverside
Area demographics
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no
Location of entity’s principal office 1501-03 Covington St. Baltimore, MD 21230
Attorney for licensee None/unrepresented
# in support 2
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Guilty of one 4.01(a) violation.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision None.
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.
Applicant Kevin Reeder & Peter Cooper
Business Name Shine Holdings, LLC
Trading As Moonshine Tavern
Address 2300-02 Boston Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of 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 beverage for consumption by any person under twenty-one (21) years of age” (Re: alcoholic beverage sold to minor police cadet on May 30, 2013).
Hearing notes

Baltimore City Police Detective Greenhill read the facts of the case from his police report, which stated that Baltimore City Police Cadet Emily Nicer ordered a Coors Lite beer from the bar and was served, though she was under 21 years old.

The licensee admitted the violation. He added, “Due to what Mr. Assad is doing in Syria, I’m busy in the Middle East at the moment.” He explained some of the steps that the bar is taking, including carding everyone who looks 35 or younger, putting up signs, etc.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office 2300 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 3
Result of hearing Guilty of one 4.01(a) violation
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case None.
Applicant Georgios Aligeorgas
Business Name Harbor East Venture, LLC
Trading As Manchurian Rice Co.
Address 1010 Aliceanna Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer location of a Class “BD7” BWL license presently located at Harborplace-301 Light Street, to 1010 Aliceanna Street, application includes request to change a Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License to a Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License; requests for outdoor table service
Hearing notes

The applicant previously owned the “New York Deli.” He was granted a hardship extension. The applicant is requesting to downgrade a BD7 license to a Class B license and transfer it to this location. Manchurian Rice Company opened in 2011 as a fast casual Asian food restaurant. There are some outdoor tables on a patio. The business estimates that they will bring in 90% or more of its income on food and 10% of its income on alcohol. There will not be a separate bar. Rather, there will be a cooler behind the counter with beer in it (similar to Chipotle’s model). The applicant does not anticipate sales of any hard liquor at this time. He hopes to offer some Asian beers, in keeping with the theme.

Chairman Fogleman noted that the applicant’s LLC is in good standing and that there were five character witnesses listed on the application, all of whom are registered voters and property owners.

Zoning B-2-4
Neighborhood Inner Harbor
Area demographics 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.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office 1010 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21202
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident ?
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1, Michael Hyde, stepping in for Inspector Brooks
Result of hearing Approved.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law 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 given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case None

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