Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on December 12, 2013.

Written by Becky Witt

Chairman Fogleman and Commissioners Smith and Jones in attendance.

1:00 pm cases

Disclaimer CLC attorney and Booze News blogger Becky Lundberg Witt represented the community in this case.
Applicant J. Hollis Albert, III, Patrick Beille & Stephen Demczuk
Business Name Peabody Heights Brewery, LLC
Trading As Peabody Heights Brewery
Address 401 E. 30th Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer License
Reason for hearing Application for a new brewery license under the provisions of Article 2B Section 2-206 (2)(I)
Hearing notes

Mr. Al Barry, consultant for the applicants, described the proposed project. The Peabody Heights Brewery has already been in operation as a manufacturing facility; however, the state law changed in 2013 to allow breweries to apply for a new kind of license called a Class D brewery license. The Peabody Heights Brewery is applying for this license in order to have a tasting room open to the public. Currently, the brewery is only allowed to be open for special events, not to the public.

Bonnie Bessor, president of the Abell Improvement Association, testified about the process that AIA went through to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Peabody Heights Brewery. AIA supports the Board’s granting of the application, subject to the restrictions in the MOU.

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke also testified about the project. She has some concerns about zoning: the building is zoned for manufacturing use, so she believes that the applicants will have to go to zoning to get a conditional use to use the building partially as a tavern. She said that she and Mr. Barry would be in conversation about that issue.

Watch the hearing here:

Zoning M-1-2
Neighborhood Abell
Area demographics 44% White, 35% Black, 3% 2 or more races, 13% Asian, 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,130.79; 14% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee None, but Mr. Al Barry from ABA Associates was a consultant for the project and acted as an advisor during the hearing
# in support 6
Attorney for community Becky Lundberg Witt (Community Law Center)
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Class D brewery license approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 2-206
Other reasons given for decision The MOU is comprehensive.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.
Applicant James Jones-Contract Purchaser
Business Name N/A
Trading As N/A
Address 843-45 S. Montford Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski informed the board that there was a transfer application pending for this license, and the applicant completely demolished the inside of the building (apparently without authorization, although this was unclear from the testimony provided). Mr. Jones has already received one hardship extension for this license and is now under a new contract to purchase the license along with the building, as-is.

Zoning R-8
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? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Hardship extension request approved
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 or other issues observed Mr. Jones admits that he has already received a hardship extension for this license. Article 2B section 10-504(d)(3) provides: “The licensee or other appropriate interested parties may make a written request to the Board for an extension of the life of the license due to hardship, for a time period of no more than a cumulative period of 360 days after the date of closing or cessation of alcoholic beverages business operations of the business for which the license is held.” The Board’s policy of allowing many hardship extensions past the statutory period of 180 days directly conflicts with its authority under Article 2B.
Applicant 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 Mr. Kodenski pointed out that the applicant had already withdrawn the request for live entertainment at the previous hearing, which was held on October 10, 2013. Mr. Kodenski provided a certificate of good standing from the State Department of Assessments and taxation which showed that the corporation is currently in good standing.

Chairman Fogleman stated that the Board had received a letter from the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which indicated that the Church reaffirms the position that it expressed in the October 10, 2013. Ms. Rivieri, a representative from the Greektown CDC, was present at the hearing and reaffirmed the position of that group, which was in opposition to the transfer application and to the live entertainment.

Mr. Kodenski concluded that, because the applicant had withdrawn the request for live entertainment, the only issue left for the Board to determine is the fitness of the applicant. He pointed out this address has had a license since 1967 and that the community members had submitted no testimony against the applicant herself.

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; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Transfer approved (no live entertainment)
Vote tally 2-1 (Chairman Fogleman dissenting)
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision Chairman Fogleman elaborated that the business owner expressed general satisfaction with the way the applicant has been managing the business. The community has had an issue with loitering. He pointed out that if the Board denies the transfer, the bar will remain at the address but will stay the responsibility of the current licensee, and that the Board generally likes to allow the residents to file protests of renewal or petitions to revoke, rather than denying a transfer. However, he went on to say that he did believe that there was enough opposition present at both of the hearings to deny this transfer based on testimony from the Greektown CDC, St Nicholas Church, Advanced Realty and the other businesses who submitted testimony. He concluded that his position is in the minority and that the majority (Commissioners Smith and Jones) felt that this was a simple transfer and there is no way to determine that the loitering or the vagrants are attached to the bar.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.
Applicant Nancy Mason & James Herget
Business Name Decades Sports Bar, Inc.
Trading As Decades Sports Bar
Address 4219-21 Curtis Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski informed the board that the owner of this license is attempting another transfer after her first transfer was turned down by the Board, and she needs a hardship extension in the meantime. Liquor Board Inspector Joann Martin testified that the establishment had closed in April 2013.

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Curtis Bay Industrial Area
Area demographics 48% White, 36% Black, 4% 2 or more races; 10% Hispanic ethnicity; 40% households have children under age 18; median household income: $33,644; 22% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No, the corporate charter is forfeited.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None.
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Joann Martin
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 10-504(d)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The corporate charter for the entity was forfeited, which no one checked either before or during the hearing. The licensee also requested their hardship extension more than 180 days after closing the business; under Article 2B section 504(d), the Board no longer has the authority to issue hardship extensions once the 180-day period has expired.

Applicant Heather Thornton
Business Name Thornton’s Pub, LLC
Trading As Thornton’s Pub
Address 1538 E. Clement Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Ms. Thornton was present, unrepresented, to request the hardship extension. She testified that the establishment has been closed since May 31, 2013. She has been in contact with a real estate agent, and she expects to sell the business within the next month or two. Chairman Fogleman asked whether this was the first time she had requested hardship extension and Ms. Thornton replied that it was.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Locust Point
Area demographics 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 the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing 180-day hardship extension granted
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 or other issues observed None
Applicant Sang Won Song
Business Name Titus, Inc.
Trading As Paradise Liquor
Address 2223 Pennsylvania Avenue
Type of License Class “A” 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 October 4, 2013)
Hearing notes

Baltimore City Police Detective L.C. Greenhill read from his report that Police Cadet Phillip Jones, who is under the age of 21, purchased a Steel Reserve beer on October 4, 2013.

Mr. Song was present at the hearing, unrepresented, and admitted that the incident happened. However, Mr. Song informed the Board that he had asked Cadet Jones for identification, but that a customer behind Mr. Jones had said, “he’s okay, he’s my brother.” So Mr. Song decided to sell the beer to Cadet Jones without looking at the identification.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Druid Heights
Area demographics 92% Black, 4% White; 32% households have children under age 18; median household income: $13,835; 51% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Ellicott City, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Guilty of one violation of Rule 4.01(a).
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 or other issues observed None

2:00 pm cases

Applicant Nathaniel Scroggins & Dennis Danielczyk
Business Name Atlantic Café, LLC
Trading As Silks
Address 2641 Hudson Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension; request to reopen after being closed for more than 90 days under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d); request to add outdoor table service; use 2639-41 for business, consolidate lot to include 2639 for business
Hearing notes

Dennis Danielczyk was present at the hearing, represented by Mr. Peter Prevas. The licensee has submitted an application to expand to include both buildings at 2631 and 2639 Hudson Street. The currently licensed establishment is the famous old Silks bar. The bar was open until August 1, 2013. Mr. Danielczyk has extensive plans to consolidate multiple rowhouses and to open the second floor of the building. He submitted a floor plan for his plans to expand. Mr. Prevas also submitted a letter from Mr. Daniel O. Tracy, Vice President of the Canton Community Association, which stated that the CCA has no objection to the expansion. The licensee says that he plans to reach out to the CCA when he applies for zoning approval for the outdoor table service.

Chairman Fogleman asked, “how long has this construction been going on?” Mr. Prevas answered that the license began in August 2013 and that he should be completed with the renovations in fewer than thirty days.

Chairman Fogleman told the licensee that his application was approved a year and a half ago for one quarter of the floor space that he is now asking the Board to approve. He added that Mr. Danielczyk has no alcohol management experience in Baltimore City (though he operated a bar in Towson for ten years). Silks’s capacity was 45, and Mr. Danielczyk’s new proposed capacity would be about 120 or so. He asked, “Would you agree with me that you’re asking us to approve, off the Square, one of the largest bars in Canton?”

Commissioner Jones added in that he was concerned with traffic flow and parking. He asked the licensee, “Do you think that this establishment would take away from the lifestyle of the community to the point where it’s not comfortable?”

Mr. Prevas, for his client, told the Board that the corner where the establishment is located is extremely wide and there’s angled parking. There’s an Ace Hardware nearby. It’s not like there’s wall to wall residences. Chairman Fogleman replied that Lakewood is nothing but homes except for the property we’re talking about.

Watch the hearing video on YouTube:

Zoning M-3
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 Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1- Joann Martin
Result of hearing

Hardship extension: approved.

Request to reopen after being closed for more than 90 days: granted.

Expansion for the first floor: approved. Expansion for second floor: denied for now. Outdoor table service: also denied for now.

Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 10-202(a)
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Fogleman announced and explained the decision, saying that Silk’s was infamous in Canton as a small bar. The previous licensee, Mr. Moore, operated it only from time to time. Mr. Moore treated it like his home and didn’t have dozens of people lined up outside, so it was with no problem that the Board transferred those premises to Mr. Danielczyk a year and a half ago even though he didn’t have liquor experience in Baltimore City. The expansion is a different situation. Mr. Danielczyk is asking for four times the bar that he once had when he really hasn’t even been open yet (except for friends on occasion). The Board has denied expansion requests from other similarly situated bars like Cardinal Tavern for similar reasons. Mr. Danielczyk, however, has already knocked down a wall on the first floor, which the Board can’t require him to put back up. If Mr. Danielczyk doesn’t have any problems with the community, in six months, the Board will look forward to receiving his application for expansion to the second floor and for outdoor table service.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.
Applicant Chad Barnhill
Business Name CBAC Borrower, LLC
Trading As Horseshoe Baltimore
Address 1525 Russell Street
Type of License Class “VLF” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Video Lottery Facility under the provisions of Article 2B Section 6-201
Hearing notes

Mr. Stanley Fine and Ms. Caroline Hecker of the law firm Rosenberg Martin Greenberg represented the applicant. Mr. Al Barry was also present as a consultant for the applicant. Mr. Fine explained to the Board that the applicant had had a hearing under a different entity (CBAC Gaming LLC) on June 20, 2013. The business has since restructured, and they never received their license under the previous application, so they withdrew their application and submitted a new one. Mr. Fine explained again to the Board the plan for the new Horseshoe Casino, submitting many exhibits and plans. There will be 3,400 gaming position, including slot machines and table games. The project will be no closer than a quarter of a mile to any residential neighborhood. The project does offer something unique in Baltimore City, and the sale of alcoholic beverages would be a valuable amenity for casino guests. The project will create 1,700 jobs for the city.

Mr. Fine, on behalf of his client, submitted three letters of personal reference on behalf of the applicant. Since Mr. Barnhill is not from Maryland, he was unable to get three character witnesses who own property and are registered to vote in Baltimore City. Mr. Fine also informed the Board that Mr. Barnhill has been deemed to be fit and proper as a manager of a casino by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission.

There were many people there in support of the project, including Tom Yeager from Downtown Partnership, Ron Melton from Visit Baltimore, Kim Clark from Baltimore Development Corporation, and Ben Hyman from Pigtown Main Street. City Councilman Curran was present in support of the project as well, though it is not in his district.

Watch the hearing on YouTube:

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Carroll-Camden Industrial Area
Area demographics The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) did not have demographics available for Washington Village/Pigtown.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Wilmington, Delaware
Attorney for licensee Mr. Stanley Fine and Ms. Caroline Hecker
# in support ~10
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Joann Martin
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 10-202(a).
Other reasons given for decision Chairman Fogleman explained that the Board had reached out to the Attorney General’s office “after there was some question about character witness information.” Ms. Kathleen Barry from the the Attorney General’s office informed the Board that the character witness signatures are not required for this kind of license.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.
Applicant Qi Ju Chen & Shi Yong Lin
Business Name Xiao Xin Corporation
Trading As H & C Market
Address 1946 Penrose Avenue
Type of License Not provided in the docket
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski spoke to the Board on behalf of his two clients. Mr. Lin and Mr. Chen will both work at the store. The establishment is a small food carryout.

Mr. Kodenski said to the Board, “in this particular case, the gentlemen are of Chinese extraction. As you can see they were born in Mexico, and I guess we can thank them for railroads, restaurants, and keeping our clothes clean.”

Commissioner Smith, seeing that the two applicants did not seem to understand English, asked Mr. Kodenski how they will be informed regarding the Rules and Regulations of the Liquor Board when they seem to have a language barrier. Mr. Kodenski replied that they have a translator who will translate the rules for them. Commissioner Smith then asked one of the applicants about the required closing time of bars in Baltimore City, and he did not understand the question and couldn’t answer it. Commissioner Smith told Mr. Kodenski that there is a serious gap in understanding, and the two applicants have no prior experience with alcohol management. Mr. Kodenski replied that it’s the American way, and that if they don’t follow the rules, they’ll lose their investment.

Watch the video of this hearing:

Zoning R-7
Neighborhood Penrose/Fayette Street Outreach
Area demographics 17% White, 76% Black, 1% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 37% households have children under age 18; median household income: $27,751.89
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally 2-1
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 10-202(a)
Other reasons given for decision Commissioner Smith dissented; she would have made the application’s approval contingent on both applicants passing an alcohol management course and obtaining a translated version of the Board’s Rules and Regulations in Chinese.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.
Applicant Angela Henry & Rayon Gray
Business Name Not provided in docket
Trading As trade name pending
Address 3602 W. Rogers Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Rule 2.08 requiring $200,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people
Hearing notes

Mr. Sam Daniels, former Executive Secretary of the Liquor Board, represented the applicants as a consultant in a continuation of the previous hearing on November 7, 2013. He submitted a floor plan and an appraisal of the work to be done on the building, which includes $509,000 in interior improvements. He also submitted information on the corporate entity which did not exist at the last hearing. The applicants serve authentic Jamaican food at their restaurant, and Mr. Gray has been operating for seven years at the premises.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Arlington
Area demographics 2% White, 94% Black, 0% Asian, 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 63% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,815.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Unclear; corporate entity information was missing from the docket, but Mr. Daniels did provide the Board with some documentation of the new corporate entity.
Location of entity’s principal office Unknown.
Attorney for licensee None, but former Executive Secretary Sam Daniels represented the applicants as a consultant.
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors 1 – Jeffrey Ray
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B section 10-202(a)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant William Matricciani, George Divel, II & Donna Matricciani
Business Name Weidog, LLC
Trading As Playbook
Address 6700 German Hill Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.18 “No licensee shall commit or allow the commission on his premises of any act which shall be contrary to any federal, state or local statue, law or ordinance or against the public peace, safety, health, welfare, quiet or morals.” (Re: providing live entertainment without permission from the board on August 24, 2013)
Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas made a motion to dismiss the charges against his client. He made an argument that to charge the licensees would be against due process, because the Board been unclear in the docket about whether the hearing covered dancing or live entertainment, which are different statutory concepts under Article 2B. Chairman Fogleman apologized for the typographical error in the docket but stated that the mistake caused no prejudice (harm) to the licensee, because Rule 4.18 is a catchall provision that covers many kinds of violations. The Chairman noted that he thinks that the docket synopses are a waste of time and that the police charge for the August 24, 2013 violation should be sufficient notice of what is being alleged before the Board. The Board denied the motion to dismiss.

The licensee denied the charge of a violation of Rule 4.18. Baltimore City Police Officer Brown testified that on August 24, 2013, at 12:50am, he did a routine business check at the establishment. There were sixteen to eighteen patrons dancing at the time, but the establishment’s liquor license does not allow live entertainment and dancing. There were about 100-120 people present, total.

Mr. Prevas told the Board that, given the clientele and nature of this establishment, it is very difficult to keep people from dancing. He mentioned that there is one more case of unauthorized live entertainment that the Board will be hearing soon, and that the licensee is doing his darndest to make sure that nobody dances. Mr. Prevas said that Baltimore City Police Lieutenant Colburn had made the suggestion that Playbook apply for live entertainment to be added to their license and that the licensee plans to do so.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Graceland Park
Area demographics 44% White, 25% Black, 2% 2 or more races; 20% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,864.31; 22% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants 2, including 2 police officers
# of inspectors 1
Result of hearing Guilty of one count of unauthorized live entertainment. $1625 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision Chairman Fogleman informed the licensee that “this seems to be some kind of a standoff, which is what bothers the Board the most.” The Chairman said that the Board is not going to suspend the liquor license of an establishment just for dancing, but that they will fine the licensees $1500 plus a $125 hearing fee.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed Members of the Southeastern Community Police Relations Council read a community impact statement after the Board reached its decision. Community members noted that the last time that Playbook had come before the Board for a similar charge, the Chairman had given a stern warning that this was the last time that the Board wanted to hear from these licensees. “When does it stop?” the community members asked, adding that “they’ll come as many times as they have to.” Chairman Fogleman responded to the community by urging the parties to reach out to each other but did not otherwise address the community’s statement.
Applicant Richard D’Souza
Business Name Gluten-Free, LLC
Trading As trade name pending
Address 127 W. 27th Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Hearing on remand from Court of Special Appeals on transfer application applicant status as taxpayer and the effect of the changes of Article 2B Section 9-101(c) on the application
Hearing notes

This hearing took place in two parts and was a hearing on remand from the Court of Special Appeals (COSA).

In the first half of the hearing, Mr. Holzer, the attorney for the Remington Neighborhood Alliance, submitted a memorandum with several arguments against granting the license to the licensee.

Holzer pointed out that the applicant’s LLC entity was temporarily forfeited by the State of Maryland from October 1, 2012 to January 2013 due to its failure to file Personal Property Returns; according to RNA, this means that the application is void. Mr. Prevas countered that the forfeiture of an LLC is different than the forfeiture of a corporation under Maryland state law. Under the Maryland Corporate Code section 4A-920, a forfeited LLC still has the ability to perform its obligations, while a corporation does not. (Section 4A-920 states “The forfeiture of the right to do business in Maryland and the right to the use of the name of the limited liability company under this title does not impair the validity of a contract or act of the limited liability company entered into or done either before or after the forfeiture.”) The Board agreed with the applicant and dismissed the argument.

Mr. Holzer went on to argue that Mr. DeSouza, under Article 2B section 9-101(c) was required to be a registered voter at the time of his 2009 application for a liquor license, as required by Article 2B section 9-101(c). After Mr. DeSouza applied for his license, the Maryland state legislature amended section 9-101(c) to say “(ii) In Baltimore City, an authorized person of a limited liability company who holds an alcoholic beverages license for the use of the limited liability company that was granted on or before June 1, 2012, need not be a registered voter in Baltimore City.” Mr. Prevas countered that Mr. DeSouza is now a registered voter and provided proof of his registration; he added that it was Board policy for many years that if the applicant had a green card, the voter registration provision in the statute did not apply. The Board agreed with Mr. Prevas on this point, stating that the Board has long allowed applicants to amend applications up to the hearing date and that Mr. DeSouza is now a registered voter, which is sufficient for the Board.

Mr. Holzer also argued that Mr. DeSouza was not a taxpayer, as required by Article 2B, at the time of his 2009 application, because he did not own property in Baltimore City at that time. Mr. Prevas countered that Mr. DeSouza was, in fact, a taxpayer in 2009, because he paid the property taxes at 127 W 27th Street, which he was required to do under his commercial lease agreement. Prevas added that, since 2009, Mr. DeSouza has purchased a house in Baltimore City on which he pays taxes. The Board agreed with Mr. Prevas that Mr. DeSouza was a taxpayer under his commercial lease and is a taxpayer currently.

Mr. Holzer then contended that the amendment to the law was unconstitutional under the Maryland state constitution, because it is a “special law.” A special law is a law that applies only to a particular individual. Mr. Prevas responded that the amendment to section 9-101(c) was not a special law because it applied to the entire class of people who are not registered to vote, including resident aliens. The Board agreed with Mr. Prevas and dismissed the argument. Ms. Joan Floyd of the Remington Neighborhood Alliance attempted to submit testimony about the hearing that she had attended in Annapolis in which the legislators specifically mentioned 127 W 27th Street, but Mr. Prevas protested that her testimony was hearsay. The Board agreed with Mr. Prevas’s objection.

Watch the Board’s decision in this hearing:

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Charles Village
Area demographics 44% White, 35% Black, 3% 2 or more races, 13% Asian, 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 11% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,130.79; 14% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 4
Attorney for community Mr. J. Carroll Holzer
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors 0
Result of hearing Community’s memorandum arguments dismissed; license approved.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Article 2B Section 9-101(c)
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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