Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on September 4, 2014.

Written by Becky Witt

Hearings on September 5, 2014 began at 11:05. All three commissioners were present.

11:00am cases

I. Reconsiderations

Applicant Richard Davis
Business Name Steel Drum Cafe, LLC
Trading As Calypso Cafe
Address 771 Washington Boulevard
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for reconsideration of the Board’s decision on April 24, 2014
Hearing notes

This case was not called.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
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; no
Location of entity’s principal office 771 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing N/A
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The Board did not call this case or explain why it was not heard.

Applicant Hugh Kavanaugh, Nelson Stritehoff, and Wayne Haley
Business Name Clifton Pleasure Club, Inc.
Trading As Clifton Pleasure Club
Address 2803 Grindon Avenue
Type of License Class “C” Beer, Wine, and Liquore License
Reason for hearing Decision phase only
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski and licensee Hugh Cavanaugh were present for the licensees. Mr. Jody Landers and Mr. Eric Nichols were present on behalf of the Lauraville Improvement Association. Both sides jointly presented an agreement which they had reached about the Clifton Pleasure Club. Presumably, this agreement addressed the concerns of the neighboring community; neither side discussed in the hearing what the terms of the agreement are, and the Commissioners did not ask about them.

Zoning R-4
Neighborhood Lauraville
Area demographics 36% White, 58% Black, 1% Asian; 2% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; 5% households below poverty line; median household income: $58,085.61.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2803 Grindon Ave, Baltimore, MD 21214.
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

The question at issue in this case was whether or not the license was valid under Article 2B. There have been several hearings about this license, but during the May 8, 2014 hearing, “Mr. Landers asked Mr. Kavanaugh how long the license has been in disuse. Mr. Kavanaugh replied that it had been longer than a year.” If the license had not been used for over a year, by law, the license has expired. (Article 2B section 10-504(d) says that a license can be in disuse for no more than 180 days before it expires by operation of law. The Board may, in its discretion, grant one hardship extension of an additional 180 days. There was no mention in the hearings of any hardship extension requested or granted.)

The Liquor Board has had a decades-long history of the transfer of expired licenses, especially when the (former) licensee has entered into an agreement to gain the support of a community association. In doing so, the Board is abdicating its responsibility to enforce the provisions of Article 2B.

II. Transfers and Amendments

Applicant Sanjay Shah and Charles Uttenriether
Business Name Kosha, Inc.
Trading As Mall Spirits
Address 6630 Reisterstown Road
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski was present with his client, the applicant. Kodenski proffered, on behalf of his client, that Mr. Shah is applying for a transfer of ownership of an existing license at its current location. There will not be any changes or additions to the business. Mr. Shah has taken the alcohol awareness course. According to his attorney, Shah will be the full time operator of the business and will obey the Rules and Regulations of the Liquor Board.

Zoning B-2-1
Neighborhood Reisterstown Station
Area demographics 28% White, 63% Black, 1% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 27% households have children under age 18; median household income: $37,372.32; 18% of households living below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 6630 Reisterstown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21215
Attorney for licensee Mr. Mel Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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 None
Applicant Michael Ghebru and Charles Armwood
Business Name Doc Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Doc’s Liquors
Address 1501 Fulton Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Mel Kodenski represented the two applicants. Dr. Marvin Cheatham, President of the Matthew A Hensen Neighborhood Association was present in opposition to the transfer.

Mr. Kodenski presented his case first. He explained that the applicants were requesting a transfer of ownership only in an existing location. The current licensee owns the license subject to a secured interest. When the licensee sells the license to the applicant, he will be able to pay the secured creditor. Mr. Charles Armwood, one of the applicants, lives a couple doors down from the location and has lived there “thirty-something years.” Armwood will help run the establishment, but the other applicant, Mr. Michael Ghebru will do the day-to-day managing. Kodenski submitted letters of support from one of the neighborhood associations for this address, Fulton Community Association.

Dr. Marvin Cheatham presented nine exhibits to the Board, including a large map of his area of West Baltimore, showing the locations of all of the local liquor stores. He told the Board that his neighborhood, the Matthew A Hensen neighborhood, is “inundated” with liquor stores. There are fifteen within his association’s boundaries. Chairman Ward pointed out that the association’s boundaries comprises a “huge area” of West Baltimore.

Chairman Ward indicated that the transfer at issue is a change in ownership only; the store already exists. Ward asked whether Dr. Cheatham had some knowledge of the people who are buying the license. Cheatham said that he did not. Ward replied that there is no evidence of any “improper performance” at this store and “to use a back door approach to get rid of the license would seem a bit unusual.” Cheatham said, that the fact that his neighborhood has such a disproportionate number of liquor stores is unusual as well. Cheatham said that, while he doesn’t know this new owner, he does know that the “overwhelming majority of the liquor store owners have no relationship with the community. They’re doing harm to [the] neighborhood.” He said that his community association would like to talk to the prospective owners.

Chairman Ward took the opportunity to mention new Liquor Board policies. He said that the agency will increase the inspectors on night duty, because that is where most of the trouble is. Inspectors will also be giving reports of what is going on and how many times bars and liquor stores are inspected. He added that “these bars exist and you just can’t wipe them out.”

Cheatham clarified that he is asking the Board to require the applicants to meet with all of the community organizations in the area. He would like the opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues and come back with an agreement to the Board. He noted that 18% of the homicides in Baltimore City take place in the Western District and that liquor stores are directly related to crime and violence.

At the end of Cheatham’s presentation, Chairman Ward asked, “have you ever run for public office?” Cheatham replied, smiling, “I did, but I didn’t do too well,” adding “I’m a civil rights leader. … I try to help people.”

Mr. Kodenski responded to Dr. Cheatham’s presentation, saying that this application to transfer ownership has been pending for a long time and there is a time-sensitive situation due to the secured creditor’s interest in the license.

Commissioner Jones pointed out to Dr. Cheatham that if the applicant doesn’t do what he says, the community can “bring him back before the Board again.” Jones advised Cheatham and the community members to “take very strong notes” and ” be able to identify all of your concerns, clearly.”

Commissioner Moore mentioned a letter from the file from Mr. Larry Jennings, the secured creditor on the license. He objects to the transfer very strongly in the letter. Moore noted that “he even has words like ‘cease and desist'” in the letter. Kodenski responded that Mr. Jennings’ concerns are the reason why there’s “some urgency” with respect to the transfer. The licensee’s “got to get the money to pay [Jennings] off.”

Dr. Cheatham stepped in again to say that there had been a lot of discussions with respect to the secured creditor and other entities but the discussions did not take place with the whole community. The community association can only respond when they see public postings. He said, “these owners don’t come to us. They depend upon us seeing the posting and then coming down here.” He said that this lack of communication forces too much on communities.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Sandtown-Winchester
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 0% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% 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 1501 N. Fulton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied
Vote tally 2-1 (Chairman Ward dissenting)
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Commissioner Jones said that he would vote yes if he could attach a condition that the applicants meet with the community first. Chairman Ward told Jones that that requirement would be illegal. “You can’t have a conditional vote.” Jones replied that, in that case, he changed his vote to “no.”

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Article 2B section 10-103(b)(10) requires that each application contain a “statement that the applicant has a pecuniary interest in the business to be conducted under said license.” In the application submitted for 1501 Fulton Avenue, which you can read here, Mr. Armwood states that he has a “0%” financial interest in the business. The application, therefore, is not legally sufficient under Article 2B.

Applicants Sun Young Parks and Juanita Sowell
Business Name Hyun Ree, Inc.
Trading As Shuster’s Liquor
Address 1231-33 W. Baltimore Street
Type of License CLass “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. David Woo, representing the applicant, informed the Board in a very short presentation that Mr. Park has extensive liquor experience and that Ms. Juanita Sowell is the current licensee who will remain on the license. There was no community opposition. Woo said that the applicant “[met] with community leaders last week.”

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Hollins Market
Area demographics 83% Black, 13% White; 31% households have children under age 18; median household income: $19.183; 38% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1231 W. Baltimore St, Baltimore, MD 21223
Attorney for licensee Mr. David Woo
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

Article 2B section 10-103(b)(10) requires that each application contain a “statement that the applicant has a pecuniary interest in the business to be conducted under said license.” In the application submitted for 1231-33 W. Baltimore Street, which you can read here, Juanita Sowell states that she has a “0%” financial interest in the business. The application, therefore, is not legally sufficient under Article 2B.

Applicant Charles Heiss, Steve Thornton, and Katie Moxley
Business Name Nando’s of Harbor East, LLC
Trading As Nando’s Peri Peri
Address 1100 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for new Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Article 2B Section 6-201 (d) (vii) $500,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people; requests for outdoor table service.
Hearing notes

Ms. Leanne Schrecengost, of Royston, Mueller, McLean & Reid, LLP, represented the three applicants. There was no community opposition present at the hearing. Ms. Schrecengost proffered that the restaurant will go inside a new building which is currently being erected. There will be a hotel in the building and several restaurants, in Harbor East.

Chairman Ward asked, “what have you done that equals $500,000?” (Article 2B requires a minimum $500,000 capital investment in order to qualify for a new Class B restaurant license.) The applicants’ attorney submitted a projected capital investment breakdown. She told the Board that the applicants will submit further documentation when the work is completed. The project will be done in early December.

Commissioner Moore asked how much money the applicants have actually spent? Mr. Charles Heiss testified that they have probably spent around $300,000 but plan to spend $1.6 or 1.7 million, total. Mr. Heiss testified further that the restaurant will serve South African chicken. Nando’s is a chain restaurant, and this will be their 21st location in the DC/Baltimore area. There will be seating for 108 people, and there will be no bar in the restaurant. On average, only 5% of Nando’s sales in the other locations are from alcohol.

Commissioner Moore asked who the day-to-day operator will be, since that section of the application was blank. Ms. Schrecengost replied that the applicants will provide that information to the Board later.

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; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1100 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Attorney for licensee Ms. Leanne Schrecengost
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

Article 2B section 10-103(b)(10) requires that each application contain a “statement that the applicant has a pecuniary interest in the business to be conducted under said license.” In the application submitted for 1100 Fleet Street, which you can read here, all three of the applicants have no financial interest in the business. The application, therefore, is not legally sufficient under Article 2B.

III. Hardship Extensions

Applicant Brian Beaven
Business Name Morning Edition, Inc.
Trading As Morning Edition Cafe
Address 153 N. Patterson Park Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

The licensee, Mr. Brian Beaven, was present to ask for a hardship extension. He informed the Board that he has signed a contract to sell the license and his building to a new owner, and both sides hope to settle by November.

Commissioner Moore asked, “what is the hardship?” Mr. Beaven responded that he has just had a hard time trying to sell the restaurant and the license. Chairman Ward said, “but you’ve succeeded.”

Mr. Beaven asked how long it will take to transfer the license, because he did not know how long of an extension he should request. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth said, “I would say they should ask for the full hardship extension.” Chairman Ward told Mr. Beaven, “don’t come back [for another hardship extension] with a lot of excuses.”

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Patterson Place
Area demographics No data were available through Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 153 N. Patterson Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

You can read Mr. Beaven’s request for a hardship extension and inspectors’ reports at this link.

Mr. Beaven’s license has already expired under Article 2B section 10-504(d). Beaven received his one allowed hardship extension under Article 2B section 10-504(d) on February 6, 2014. According to the file, Morning Edition Cafe closed in August 2013. 360 days have passed between the establishment’s closure and the September 2014 hearing before the Board; therefore, the license has expired by operation of law and any hardship extension given by the Board is not authorized under Article 2B.

Applicant Michael Felner
Business Name Pigtown Ale House, LLC
Trading As Pigtown Ale House
Address 1415 Washington Boulevard
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Review of a transfer pending more than 180 days
Hearing notes

Mr. Michael Felner appeared on his own behalf, requesting a hardship extension, “based on many variables.” He purchased the property and license at auction in July 2013. The settlement did not occur until late November because of legal issues with a secured creditor on the license. He then had issues with the permitting office over whether he could use the second floor of the building and whether he could move the kitchen. He’s had contractors and electricians working on the building since then. He is not waiting for an architect to develop plans for the building. Felner mentioned that he had called Councilman Reisinger’s office several times to get help on moving the project along. Commission Jones told him that speaking with his councilperson would not help. Felner concluded by saying that if he can get a 180-day extension, he would hope to be able to open within that timeframe. He has been stalled by bureaucracy. Jones replied, “only because you don’t want to follow the bureaucracy.” Chairman Ward agreed, noting, “you’ve dawdled. There’s been a lot of delays.”

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
Area demographics No data available through the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2203 Linden Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

It is unclear from the testimony provided how long the business at 1415 Washington Boulevard has been closed. It is also unclear when the license transferred from the former owner to Mr. Felner, which would start the 180-day clock for the purposes of Article 2B section 10-504(d). If the license transferred in November 2013, when the deal closed, Mr. Felner’s June 24, 2014 hardship request was not submitted within 180 days, as required by the statute. The Board did not inquire as to these dates or their legal implications under Article 2B section 10-504(d).

Applicant Brett Austin and Joshua Foti
Business Name 18 Cross, LLC
Trading As Crossbar
Address 12-18 E. Cross Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor
Reason for hearing Review of a transfer pending for more than 180 days
Hearing notes

Mr. Joseph Woolman represented applicant Joshua Foti. Woolman said to the Board that the license for this establishment was approved on February 20, 2014. A group of neighbors subsequently appealed to the Circuit Court. Woolman told the Board, “we obviously have not completed the transfer.” He gave two reasons. First, the appeal by the neighbors and one neighborhood organization held them up in litigation. Second, there were undue delays by various Baltimore City agencies. The licensees did not receive a building permit until the day before. Woolman pointed out that it is impossible for the licensees to operate and open a business without a building.

Mr. Paul Robinson, community member and former president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, appeared on his own behalf as a resident. He is one of the neighbors who appealed the February 20 Board decision. Chairman Ward asked, “what is your opposition? This is a request for a hardship extension.” Robinson replied that the licensee should not be permitted a hardship extension, because it was not requested within 180 days of the cessation of the business. The last time a bar was open at this address was on or about September 1, 2009. Robinson pointed out that the February 20 hearing was not an “approval” of the license but was rather a hearing on the validity of the license. Robinson said that the Board had decided that the license was “viable.” Commissioner Jones said that he didn’t remember anything from the February 20 hearing, because the case “was so long ago.”

Brooke McDonald, another resident, then requested that the matter be postponed. The appeal of the February 20 decision has been remanded to the Board for a hearing on September 25, and the community members present were hoping that all of the issues relating to this license could be heard at once on that date. Ward replied, “I have to say that it makes sense to put it all together.”

Woolman replied, that the scope of the hardship extension request is very limited. Ward disagreed, saying, that the Board has “much broader jurisdiction. Thank goodness we’re not burdened by huge number of regulations.” Ward went on to tell Mr. Woolman, “somehow or other you’ve gotten past the Board on your license. I don’t know how or why. Meanwhile [the neighbors] appeal it, and the Circuit Court has questions. They sent it back to the Liquor Board.” As an aside, Ward noted that when he was a Circuit Court judge, “I never did that. I decided everything.”

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 0% 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? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 18 E. Cross St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Attorney for licensee Mr. Joseph Woolman
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 2
# of inspectors/police officers 0
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 or other issues observed

There are many legal issues relating to the Crossbar case, which have been laid out in previous Booze News posts and will be taken up again after the Board’s decision on September 25, 2014.

IV. Request to Reopen

Applicant Ronald Singer
Business Name RHT, Inc.
Trading As Red House Tavern
Address 2239 Essex Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to reopen after being closed for more than 90 days
Hearing notes

Mr. Ronald Singer appeared on his own behalf. He told the Board that his business has been undergoing remodeling. They closed on April 30, 2014, and, when they tried to reopen on August 5, the Board told him that he would have to attend a public hearing first. Mr. Singer requested 90 more days to open.

Commissioner Moore asked Mr. Singer whether he planned to get his corporate entity in good standing and he replied that he would.

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? Yes; no (forfeited).
Location of entity’s principal office 4333 Butler Rd, Reisterstown, MD 21136
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 90-day extension 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

The Board appeared to be confused by the nature of this hearing. Under Article 2B section 10-301(j)(4), “before a licensed premises in Baltimore City that has been closed for at least 3 consecutive months may be reopened: (i) The Board of Liquor License Commissioners shall hold a public hearing; and (ii) The licensee shall obtain approval from the Board of Liquor License Commissioners to reopen.” The licensee was not requesting a hardship extension in his letter submitted to the Board, nor did he need one, under the statute. He was merely requesting to reopen, as required, but then the Board gave him an (unnecessary) extension.

Applicants Kamal Toor & Barbara Pence
Business Name AJKJ, Inc.
Trading As not provided
Address 2839 Annapolis Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Transfer of ownership
Hearing notes

This case was not listed on the docket for the day, apparently due to a scheduling error, though the applicants received notice to appear.

Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth announced, “Chairman, I have one item which I would like to add to the agenda. The people were mailed, and it’s not on our agenda.”

Mr. Gary Maslan appeared, with his client, the applicant. Maslan told the Board that the establishment is the Hollinswood Inn. He said that there “is no real community association around it. The old community association disbanded.” Maslan stated that the applicants reached out to the neighbors. The current licensee is staying on the license to assist. The other applicant has had alcohol experience in Dundalk. The establishment has its own parking lot and is in a freestanding building.

Baltimore’s Cityview website shows seven potentially active community associations in the area, including: Gwynns Falls Trail Council, Mt. Winans/Westport/Lakeland Master Plan Task Force, Southern District Police-Community Relations Council, Lakeland Community Association, Lakeland Coalition, Southwest Community Action Center, and Westport/Project T.O.O.U.R., Inc. Youth Council.

Zoning M-2-1
Neighborhood Lakeland
Area demographics N/A (BNIA does not have census data for this neighborhood)
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2839 Annapolis Rd, Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing 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

As recently as November 2013, there was, in fact, an operational community association in Lakeland. Though the applicants received notice of the hearing, the community members did not, because the hearing was not listed on the docket for the day.

1:00 p.m. cases

V. Violations

Applicant Luis George
Business Name Two Loueys Cantina, LLC
Trading As Two Loueys Cantina Bar and Grill
Address 200 S. Haven Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor Licenses
Reason for hearing 1) Violation of Rule 4.18, on April 26, 2014: A police officer observed 40-50 individuals dancing in the establishment, but the liquor license states, “No live entertainment or dancing.” 2) Violation of Rule 4.18 on July 26, 2014: Inspector observed individuals dancing in the establishment, but the liquor license states, “No live entertainment or dancing.”
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted to the violations. In mitigation of the punishment, Mr. Kodenski, for his client, said to the Board that the violations were a “‘de minimis’ type thing. Of all things happening in the city, dancing is not the worst thing in the world.” An inspectors’ report showed that the building had a filthy lavatory and no paper towels. Kodenski responded that those problems had been fixed.

Baltimore Police Lieutenant William Colburn, Police Officer Todd Brown and Inspector Mark Fosler were all present at the hearing but did not testify.

Zoning M-2-2
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian, 2% 2 or more races, 30% Hispanic ethnicity, 30% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $39,874.02; 18% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 205 N. North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21202
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible for both charges. $250 fine for each.
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 Dante Daniels
Business Name D. Daniels, Inc.
Trading As Maceo’s
Address 1924-26 N. Monroe Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted to the charges. He testified that he has owned the business for eight years, and this is his first offense. He takes the charge very seriously and has retrained his employees. It won’t happen again.

Zoning R-7
Neighborhood Mondawmin
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,912.3; 12.8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1922-26 Monroe St, Baltimore, MD 21217
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
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 Pok Hui Lee
Business Name Wolfe Liquor, Inc.
Trading As Wolfe Liquors
Address 1642-44 N. Wolfe Street
Type of License “Class A-2” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan appeared on behalf of the licensee. The licensee admitted the violation. Maslan told the Commissioners that the sale was made by the licensee’s husband. He made an error in observation. The licensee will have her husband TAM certified, and she has admonished him for his mistake.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 10612 Ashford Way, Woodstock, MD 2116
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
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 Emory White and Darren Freeman
Business Name Northwood Lounge, LLC
Trading As Northwood Lounge
Address 1552 Havenwood Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 11, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted the charge and told the Board that the employee responsible no longer works for their store.

Zoning B-2-1
Neighborhood Hillen
Area demographics 7% White, 87% Black, 1% Asian, 2% 2 or more races; 2% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $56,023; 7% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1552 Havenwood Rd; Baltimore, MD 21234
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for charge. $250 fine.
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 John Faulkner and Carolyn Martin
Business Name Jafe, LLC
Trading As Jafe Package Goods and Grocery
Address 1616 E. Oliver Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted the violation. It’s his first offense, and he has owned the business for over a decade. He does not intend to be back before the Board, and he apologized to the City of Baltimore.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Oliver
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $21,224; 29% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1616 E Oliver St, Baltimore, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
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 Kil Ahn
Business Name Not Given
Trading As Avenue Liquor and Bar
Address 1238 Greenmount Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted the violation. Sang Kil Ahn said that the responsible employee is 65 years old; he told her to card anyone who looks younger than 30, but she thought the police cadet looked older than 30. She has since quit working at the store.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Johnston Square
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $21,224; 29% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no (forfeited).
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for charge. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones in dissent; he did not explain why he dissented)
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
Licensees Bong Su Oh and Tae Kun Oh
Business Name Jason Oh, Inc.
Trading As B and J Liquor Store
Address 1801. E. Federal Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Licensee Tae Oh appeared for the hearing, unrepresented. She admitted the violation and promised to do a better job of checking IDs in the future.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1801 E. FEDERAL ST.; BALTIMORE, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 Frawing Galan and Fernado Parada
Business Name Euphoria Restaurant and Nightclub, LLC
Trading As Euphoria Restaurant and Nightclub
Address 1301 S. Ponca Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing 1) Violation of Rule 3.12 on August 9, 2014: Approximately 25 police responded to quell fights and disorderly crowd. 2) Violation of Rule 4.02 on August 9, 2014: Police observed several patrons who appeared highly intoxicated.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski appeared, without his client, the licensee. Kodenski asked for a postonement, because the licensee’s sister is currently in labor. As the Board was deliberating whether to postpone, licensee Frawing Galan arrived at Room 215 and the hearing proceeded.

Baltimore Police Officer Michael J. Pusloskie, Jr. testified that on August 9, 2014, at 1:19am, he was issuing parking tickets on the street when he observed a fight coming out the front door. The security officers inside the establishment were pushing people out the door. There were two other officers in the area, but they needed more officers to deal with the situation. One of the officers issued a “signal 13,” to which 25 officers and the Foxtrot helicopter responded. The officers had to block off Conkling Street because of the large crowd of people coming out the door. The officers arrested four people for being intoxicated and disorderly. One officer had to pepper spray one of the patrons. It took police about an hour to clear the area (They finished around 2:30am.). He elaborated that some of the intoxicated people fell down and had to be carried by their friends to their vehicles.

On cross-examination, Mr. Kodenski asked whether Mr. Pusloskie actually saw the bar staff sell or furnish beverages to any of the intoxicated patrons. Mr. Pusloskie said that he did not.

Commissioner Moore asked Mr. Pusloskie what a “signal 13” is. He replied that it means that an officer is in distress or dire need.

Lieutenant William Colburn corroborated Mr. Pusloskie’s story, as he was one of the officers to respond to the “signal 13.” Colburn said that it was a large event and very disruptive to city as a whole. The 25 officers who responded to the establishment came from other places around the city. Colburn added that this kind of event is uncharacteristic for this licensee. The licensee is generally cooperative, and the police department met with him the next day to discuss updates to his security plan, given the events of August 9.

Commissioner Jones asked whether the security officers at Euphoria are off-duty officer? Colburn replied that they are not. He explained that bar owners may hire off-duty police officers to work outside of their establishment as additional security personnel, but off-duty police officers are prohibited from working inside a bar or restaurant.

Commissioner Moore asked whether there was a cost to the incident on August 9. Lieutenant Colburn replied that there is a cost, not so much financial, but with the police department’s resources. Other neighborhoods throughout the city are not being policed when a signal 13 draws them to one place.

Mr. Kodenski, on cross-examination, asked the police whether the bar was in a commercial or residential area? The police officers replied that it is in a commercial area. The Royal Farms store nearby may have been affected, but most other businesses on the block were closed at that time of night. Mr. Kodenski closed by arguing that the police had not proven that the individuals who were intoxicated had been furnished alcohol by Euphoria. The charge states that the licensee sold or furnished alcohol to these individuals, but, Kodenski said, “we don’t know where they got it from” and “we can’t do the quantum leap.”

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Canton Industrial Area
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; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 1301 S. Ponca St, BALTIMORE, MD 21224
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for both charges. Suspension for one weekend and $1,000 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Responding to Mr. Kodenski’s argument that the Board cannot be sure that Euphoria served the intoxicated patrons, Chairman Ward pointed out that the Liquor Board conducts civil proceedings. According to Ward, there is more than sufficient evidence to show that the bar owner should have refused the intoxicated people entrance. Ward told Mr. Galan that his job as a licensee is to control his crowd and his license. Commissioners Moore and Jones agreed. The original sentence was for Euphoria to be closed the weekend after the hearing, but Mr. Galan asked if it could be moved to the following weekend, because he had a large concert scheduled for which he had already paid. The Board agreed to move the suspension to the following weekend.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Jang Sik Chu and Soon Ja Chu
Business Name Chulee Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Bond Street Food and Beverage
Address 1641 N. Bond Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol solid to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Licensee Jang Chu admitted the violation. Detective Abraham Gatto was present but not required to testify because of the licensee’s admission.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Oliver
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $21,224; 29% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1641 N. Bond St; Baltimore, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 Kwang Ok Seo and Ki Hyuck Kwon
Business Name Mirae Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Federal Liquors
Address 1537 N. Washington Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Licensee Ki Hyuck Kwon appeared before the Board and spoke through an interpreter. He admitted the charge. Baltimore Police Detective Akinwande was present but did not testify due to the licensee’s admission.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1537 N WASHINGTON ST.; BALTIMORE, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 Kwang Lee and Ok Soon Lee
Business Name T and H Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Lowell Liquors
Address 3201 A and B Woodland Avenue
Type of License Class “A-2” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing 1) Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on February 7, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet. 2) Violation of Rule 3.02 on Feburary 7, 2014: Licensee put departmental $20.00 bill in his pocket and tried to give officers a counterfeit $20.00 bill instead.
Hearing notes

The licensee was present for the hearing, with his translator. He admitted the first violation but denied the second violation.

Baltimore Police Detective and Police Cadet Gregory McCoy testified that at 9:45pm on the date in question, Cadet McCoy, who is under age 21, entered the store and purchased a 375ml bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey for $9.80 with a departmental $20 bill. [The police officer with the cadet retains a photocopy of the $20 bill used to purchase the alcohol, so that the police can retrieve it after the sale.] The police testified that, when they attempted to recover the $20 bill, the license attempted to give Greenhill a counterfeit $20 bill. When the licensee opened his register, the departmental $20 was not in the register. The licensee then started removing $20 bills from his pants pockets. Lee eventually found the correct bill in his pocket.

The licensee then testified in his defense. He said that his current practice is to put larger bills in his pockets, because he has had many thefts before. He said that he never gave the officer a fake $20 bill; rather, he just grabbed the first one out of his pocket, which was not the correct bill. When Greenhill showed the licensee the photocopy of the bill, he found the correct one in his pocket. The licensee says that he keeps a fake $20 bill taped to the wall behind the register to remind him to check the authenticity of $20 bills that he receives with his UV light. Greenhill responded that the fake $20 bill was not taped to the wall; it was laying near the register. He said it didn’t look like a US currency note. It looked like Monopoly money and was faded.

Zoning R-10
Neighborhood Central Park Heights
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 38% households have children under age 18; 33% households living below the poverty line; median household income: $27,238.61.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3201 Woodland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for both violations. $500 fine for the Rule 4.01(a) violation and $1,500 fine for the Rule 3.02 violation.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones voted not responsible for the 3.02 violation)
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 Cha Syong Kim and Yang Kuk Yoo
Business Name BWK, Inc.
Trading As Shamrock Liquors
Address 4300 Belair Road
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 11, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Licensee Cha Syong Kim, through a translator, admitted the violation. He told the Board that he thought that Police Cadet Gregory McCoy was over 30 years old, which is why he didn’t ask him for identification.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Belair-Parkside
Area demographics 36% White, 58% Black, 1% Asian; 2% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; 5% households below poverty line; median household income: $58,085.61
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 4300 Belair Rd; Baltimore, MD 21206
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for charge. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 Betty Solomon
Business Name Not Given
Trading As Larae’s Lounge
Address 1000 E. Hoffman Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Licensee Betty Solomon did not appear for the hearing. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth confirmed that the licensee had received and signed for a notice of the hearing on August 18 at 12:30pm.

The Board heard testimony from Baltimore Police Detective Abraham Gatto and Cadet Gregory McCoy. Mr. McCoy purchased a Bacardi Gold drink from an employee named Mr. Curry and paid $8.36. Mr. Curry did not ask for identification from Mr. McCoy.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Oliver
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $21,224; 29% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No; N/A.
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for charge, $500 fine.
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 Kimberly Wilkens and Tina Wilkens
Business Name New Buckett’s Lounge, Inc.
Trading As New Buckett’s Lounge
Address 1432 N. Chester Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alochol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

The licensee admitted the violation.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
Location of entity’s principal office 2915 Chelsea Terrace, Baltimore, MD 21216
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for charge. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 Jun Bin Biak and Wok Kuk Suh
Business Name WS Sun Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Sun Liquors
Address 2331 E. Federal Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.01(a) on April 4, 2014: Alcohol sold to an underage police cadet.
Hearing notes

Mr. Wok Kuk Suh was present and submitted a written note admitting the charge and explaining himself. Ward looked through the note and read a very brief portion of it out loud in which the licensee admitted that it was his mistake.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Broadway East
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $26,431.68; 21% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2331 E Federal St, Timonium, MD 21213
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible for charge. $250 fine.
Vote tally 2-1 (Jones dissenting)
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 George Zaganas
Business Name Sherrie’s Show Bar, Inc.
Trading As Sherrie’s Show Bar
Address 3821-23 Pulaski Highway
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.17(a) on December 11, 2013: Dancer solicited police officer for sexual intercourse.
Hearing notes

Mr. Howard Cardin represented the establishment. Mr. George Zaganas, the licensee, is recovering from hip surgery, so Mr. John Zaganas, George’s nephew, was there on his uncle’s behalf.

Baltimore Police Detective Abraham Gatto testified that he and Detective Akinwande went to the strip club in an “undercover capacity,” using pseudonyms. (Detective Akinwande’s pseudonym was “Omar.”) They sat at the bar and had drinks. Then Detective Gatto paid $70 for a back room “for the event of a lap dance” from a woman whose stage name was Mimi. The dancer’s “government name” was Amira Bell. Gatto began talking to Ms. Bell about what she would be doing when she was done with work. Gatto told her that he was interested in having sex with her. Ms. Bell asked Gatto what was in it for her. Gatto elaborated that he wanted her to have sex with both him and his friend (Detective Akinwande). She said that it would cost them $100 each. Gatto made plans with her to come back to the bar around 2am, when she was done with work. Bell told Gatto that she would be waiting in the parking lot. The officers left the bar around 11:55pm that night and described Ms. Bell to Sergeant Chris Leisher. She was formally identified by other police officers and was sent a criminal summons for prostitution. Nothing else occurred between Gatto and Bell that night; he didn’t meet her.

Mr. Cardin then cross-examined Detective Gatto. Carden asked whether Gatto arrested Ms. Bell that night; Gatto replied that he did not. Ms. Bell was summonsed on January 6, 2014? Gatto replied that was correct. He also testified that Sherrie’s was not notified of the charges until they received a notice of a hearing from the Liquor Board. Cardin asked whether Ms. Bell was prosecuted for prostitution, and Gatto did not know. Gatto did testify that he was the one who brought up the idea of sex with Ms. Bell.

Mr. John Zaganas then testified that Ms. Bell does not work at Sherrie’s anymore. She worked there 2-3 years ago and was briefly rehired by the bartender. She worked one or two nights at Sherrie’s and then never returned. Sherrie’s did not know about the incident until March 2014, when the Liquor Board inspector brought notice of the hearing. Zaganas said that, recently, Ms. Bell’s daughter came in to Sherrie’s looking for a job, and the management turned her daughter away.

Cardin then argued that there was no solicitation in Gatto’s description of events. Rather, he said, Ms. Bell was solicited by Gatto. He said that she may not have been entrapped by Gatto, but she was enticed and induced to respond the way she did.

Commissioner Moore asked, “how old is Amira Bell?” On the charging sheet, her date of birth is 1992; Moore asked how old her daughter could have been, to ask for a job at Sherrie’s. Upon hearing that information, Mr. Zaganas said that perhaps the story that he had heard about Ms. Bell’s daughter was really about someone else. Mr. Zaganas chimed in again to say that Sherrie’s does not have a “back room;” rather, there is a room for lap dances that is “open for everyone to see.”

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Baltimore Highlands
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian, 2% 2 or more races, 30% Hispanic ethnicity, 30% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $39,874.02; 18% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3821-23-25 Pulaski Highway, Baltimore, MD 21224
Attorney for licensee Mr. Howard Cardin
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $500 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Ward originally imposed a $1,000 fine. Upon a reminder that Article 2B limits the fine for a first offense to $500, in section 16-507, the fine was lowered to $500.

During the sentencing part of the hearing, Ward said to Cardin, “when you and I were young men, you and I probably went to Sherrie’s.”

John Zaganas said that Sherrie’s has enough financial problem without getting themselves mixed up in violations for prostitution. Business is slow, due to the bad economy. They’re also not close to many hotels. “The last thing in the world I need is this,” he lamented.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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