Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on August 27, 2015.

Written by Becky Witt

Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth called the session to order at 1:08pm. Chairman Benjamin Neil and Commissioners Douglas Trotter and Elizabeth Hafey were present.

I. Expedited Items (Transfers & Amendments):

Applicant Pete Koroneos
Business Name LLPD, LLC
Trading As Broadway Diner
Address 6501 Eastern Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle represented the applicant and proffered the case on behalf of his client. The transfer of ownership is a “simple transfer of corporate identity,” according to Hurdle. The licensee remains the same, owning 25% of the business. There are three other investors in the business, none of whom are licensees. There were no letters of opposition in the file or protesters present. Chairman Neil asked whether the licensee had been found responsible for any violations of law, and Hurdle responded that his clients’ record was free of violations for 12 years.

Zoning M-2-1
Neighborhood Pulaski Industrial Area
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, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes; yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 25%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# 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 Hector Camilo
Business Name Nitro, LLC
Trading As Aqua Bar & Grill
Address 3537 E. Fairmount Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership requests for live entertainment & outdoor table service
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicant and proffered on behalf of his client. The applicant, Mr. Camilo, is a former Baltimore City police officer. He is familiar with the rules and regulations and has taken the alcohol awareness class. He’s not going to make many changes to the business and is talking with the community. Ms. Bailey-Hedgepeth said that the Board did receive an email from Ms. Rachel Timmins, who would like to meet with the applicant to work out a Memorandum of Understanding. Kodenski stated, for his client, that he would do so. Chairman Neil asked whether the applicant intends to add outdoor tables or outdoor entertainment at some point. Kodenski replied that he may or may not. Since he’s in an R-8 residential zone, his business as a tavern is currently nonconforming, so he would need overwhelming support from the community to add more privileges.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Baltimore Highlands
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 Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? No, Mr. Camilo does not reside in Baltimore City, though he stated that he did in the application. His home address is in Baltimore County.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident Mr. Camilo’s pecuniary interest is 100%, but he is a Baltimore City taxpayer, not resident.
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin 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

Mr. Camilo states twice in the application that he is a Baltimore City resident, but his home address on the form, where he says he’s lived for 11 years, is in Baltimore County. Camilo owns multiple properties in Baltimore City, which the Board of Liquor License Commissioners has used as a proxy for city residency. However, he is not a city resident, according to the information provided in the application and perhaps, therefore, does not qualify for the transfer.

Applicants Ruchirabahen Parikh & Naima Pliva
Business Name Saruni, Inc.
Trading As Fireside
Address 2201 W. North Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Frank Shaulis represented the applicant and proffered the case for her. Mr. Shaulis said that the building was destroyed in the April 2015 riots, but his client has purchased it and is rebuilding. It will be “some time” before it opens. The applicant has met with the community, including Dr. Marvin Cheatham (who was present at the hearing). The applicant has reached an agreement with the community, but they have not reduced it to writing. The applicants will continue to operate the business in the same manner in which it was operated before.

Councilman Nick Mosby submitted a letter to the Board indicating that there had been issues at this business relating to crime and trash. Shaulis said that these issues had all been addressed with Dr. Cheatham.

Dr. Marvin Cheatham, president of the Matthew A Henson Community Organization and a representative of the Alliance of Rosemont Community Organizations (ARCO), testified that he had met with the applicants and he was pleased with their proposal. He told the new commissioners that the alcohol outlet density in his community is almost double the density of the rest of the city. There are 15 liquor stores in his area. Normally, his association does oppose transfers and new licenses, but, in this particular case, they were satisfied by what they heard from the applicants. The applicants have said that they will work with the community to do some uplifting community events.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Coppin Heights/Ash-Co-East
Area demographics 1% White, 97% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 35% households have children under age 18; median household income: $26,682.89; 26% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Frank Shaulis
# 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

Lawyers as Witnesses: The attorney for the applicants, Frank Shaulis, signed as a character witness on their behalf. Though this is not a violation of state law or of Liquor Board regulations, to testify in favor of one’s client is a potential conflict of interest for the attorney.

Baltimore City resident: The Baltimore City resident on this license has no pecuniary interest in the business, which may make the application deficient under Article 2B section 9-101(b).

The character witness section of the application was not filled out completely; the third character witness’s name was crossed out entirely, and there was nothing in the blank for “length of time acquainted with applicant.”

Applicants Ashley Kim & Kyun Ja Lee
Business Name Arik, 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

Mr. David Woo represented the two applicants. Woo proffered that the applicants have extensive experience and will not be making any changes to the pre-existing business.

Dr. Cheatham, president of the Matthew A Henson Community Organization, testified that he had had a good discussion with the applicants and with the previous owner. The community has concerns about loitering, crime, drugs, and public alcohol consumption relating to this establishment. He’s concerned about underage drinking and sales, since there have been several recent violations at this location for sales to minors. There are several schools nearby. There is also an active drug market across the street, where the community recently did a walk with Congressman Elijah Cummings. While the community was on the walk, Congressman Cummings was approached by someone selling drugs, wanting to make a sale. Because of these conditions, it will be hard for the applicants to reduce loitering.

Chairman Neil told Cheatham that the Board will be initiating a task force for underage drinking, which will go into effect soon. They will be working with various agencies to try to alleviate the problem.

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? No, the corporate entity called “Arik, Inc.” is forfeited, according to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation’s website.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? No, neither of the applicants resides in Baltimore; one lives in Howard County and the other lives in Baltimore County.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee Mr. David Woo
# 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

Baltimore City resident: neither of the two applicants is a Baltimore City resident, which makes the application deficient under Article 2B section 9-101(b).

There was no floor plan submittted with the application.

The section for the character witnesses was cut off in the version sent out and posted on the Liquor Board’s website, but it seems as though one of the character witnesses is crossed out. The character witnesses that are visible on the application state that they have known the applicants “5 month” and “4 month” when the required minimum length of time is 2 years. Perhaps the application was updated after the docket was posted to make it sufficient under the law.

Applicants Philip Han & Joseph Piazza
Business Name Doobyhan, Inc.
Trading As Dooby’s Coffee
Address 800 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add live entertainment, off-premise catering & outdoor table service
Hearing notes

One of the two applicants, Mr. Philip Han, appeared before the commissioners, unrepresented. He told the commissioners that he was requesting outdoor seating, live entertainment, and off-premises catering. He said that he wanted to prove to the community that he could be a great operator before he asked for additional privileges, which is why he had waited.

Mr. Steve Johnson, chair of the liquor committee of the Mount Vernon Belvdere Association, was present in support of the application. He said that the restaurant had been a wonderful asset to the community, and that the association had no objections to the request, though they would revisit the issue if and when the license is transferred to a new operator.

Commissioner Trotter expressed concern about college students and underage drinking. Mr. Han responded that there are some students in the area, particularly Peabody students, who wanted a place to perform, which is one of the main reasons why he was asking for live entertainemnt. The music will be mostly acoustic instruments with the occasional electric keyboard; there is no intent or desire for a rock band or DJ.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mount Vernon
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5 % households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? The docket has a mistake: the corporate entity is “Doobyhan Group, Inc.” which is in good standing.
Location of entity’s principal office Fulton, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee None
# 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

Baltimore City resident: The Baltimore City resident on this application (which is not for a transfer, but the rules still apply) does not have a financial interest in the business.

Docket information: The package of documents attached to the docket contains the entity information for the wrong corporate entity. (It includes an SDAT printout for “Doobyhan Underground, LLC.)

Applicant Tsega Tesfatsion
Business Name Ole Village Wine & Liquor, Inc.
Trading As Sami Wines
Address 786 Washington Boulevard
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicant and proffered, on her behalf, that the application is for the transfer of an existing Class A off-sale liquor license. The applicant worked in her brother’s store since 2012, called the Opposite Sidewalk Saloon. She will be purchasing the property herself and going into business on her own. The commissioners noticed that the corporate entity has not yet been formed, according to SDAT, and they made their approval conditional on a certificate of good standing from SDAT.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
Area demographics BNIA did not have demographic information available for this neighborhood.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No.
Location of entity’s principal office None exists.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved (conditionally)
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

Completeness of the application: Under reforms passed in 2014, the Board is not allowed to schedule a hearing unless and until an application is complete. If an applicant is filing an application on behalf of a corporate entity that has not yet been created, that application is not complete. The Board should not be issuing “conditional” approvals; the commissioners should have all of the information in front of them that they need to make their final decision.

Applicant Ben Kwan Han
Business Name B.K. Han, Inc.
Trading As Garrison Liquors
Address 2906-B Garrison Boulevard
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. David Woo, for his client, the applicant, proffered that Mr. Han will be the main operator of the business and has his alcohol awareness certification. Han, like the hearing before him, did not have a valid business entity as of the date of the hearing. B.K. Han, Inc. was incorporated after the hearing, on August 31, 2015. The commissioners gave him conditional approval, since his application was not complete.

Zoning B-1-1
Neighborhood Garwyn Oaks
Area demographics 2.2% White, 94.9% Black, 0.1% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 31% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $37,351.9; 19.2% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No.
Location of entity’s principal office Corporation did not exist.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Unknown. The application for this address was missing in the files sent out with the docket.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident Unknown. The application for this address was missing in the files sent out with the docket.
Attorney for licensee Mr. David Woo
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved (conditionally)
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

Incomplete Docket: The Board has been sending out attachments with all of their dockets that include the applications and other relevant documents from the file. The documents from this file were mostly missing in the Board’s attachments.

II. Regular Docket:

The first case on the docket, 1117 S. Charles Street, was postponed.

Applicant Nancy Wertheimer & Daniela Useli
Business Name D & U, LLC
Trading As Daniela’s Cafe & Bakery
Address 822-24 W. 36th Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor
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. Will Bauer, a consultant, was present to represent the applicants. Ms. Useli has operated a restaurant in Hampden with her son for several years, but she has recently found a larger space. The Hampden Community Council and the Hampden Village Merchants Association have both given their full support of the transfer of location. Bauer submitted a packet of documents and information to the commissioners. One of the documents, a petition in support of the transfer, caught Chairman Neil’s eye, and he remarked that many of the signatories on the document lived outside of Baltimore City. Bauer reiterated that the project also has support from the community associations nearby.

Bauer explained that the landlord for the new building will also be a licensee, because Ms. Useli is not a U.S. citizen, though Ms. Useli is the sole owner of the LLC. The lease is for five years with two five year options. The applicants have spent $60,000 so far, for a new restaurant with 81 seats, and their budget is just over $200,000.

Zoning B-1-2
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 Baltimore County
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 4
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

Baltimore City resident: The Baltimore City resident on this application has a 0% pecuniary interest in the business. Ms. Useli states several times in the application that she is a Baltimore City resident, but she gives a Baltimore County home address.

Applicant Andre Mazelin
Business Name Mobaybe, LLC
Trading As The Room
Address 800 St. Paul Street aka 24 E. Madison Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer & Wine Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership & location presently located at 900 N. Charles Street to 800 St. Paul Street, request to downgrade a Class “D” BWL license to a Class “D” BW license
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicant and proffered for his client that he was formerly a licensee at the Creative Alliance in Highlandtown and intends to run a coffee house type operation at the location. He has letters of support from the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association and the city councilman in the district and will take an alcohol awareness course. The zoning approval for this location was given subject to restrictions: no packaged goods, no off-premises sales, and obtain CHAP approval for any exterior changes.

Mr. Steve Johnson from the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association testitifed that his organization’s members overwhelmingly approved the application. They had been concerned about another Class D tavern license coming into the neighborhood, but they’re more comfortable with a downgraded beer and wine (no liquor) license.

Zoning O-R-3
Neighborhood Mount Vernon
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5 % households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore City
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin 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 Cyril Ezeakor
Business Name 25th Roland Billiards, Inc.
Trading As Vasachy
Address 2445-B N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer location of a Class “BD7” BWL license presently located at 428 E. 25th Street to
2445-B N. Charles Street
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski, for his client, explained that Mr. Ezeakor has tried to move this license several times, and there has been a pending application to transfer it for a long time. The building where Mr. Ezeakor’s establishment used to be was “taken,” according to Kodenski. He planned to move to York Road, but then he changed his plans to move close to where he used to be open. The establishment will be small, seating 20-24 people, focusing on food. The building is only 900 square feet, half of which is taken up by the kitchen. The applicant entered into an agreement with the Charles Village Civic Association yesterday.

Ms. Sandy Sparks from the Charles Village Civic Association testified that her association had had a tour of the proposed location, which, she agreed, is very small. There will be no sales of package goods. The hours will be weekdays 11am-10pm, weekends 11am-midnight. There will be more security lighting installed on the outside of the building, and CVCA will work with the applicant on signage. There will be no outdoor seating and no live entertainment.

City Councilman Carl Stokes testified that he was in support of the community’s position on this transfer.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Old Goucher
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 100%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin 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

Mr. Ezeakor stated on his application that he has been found guilty of a crime, but he did not explain the circumstances; the commissioners did not ask about it.

Applicants Marwan Daas & Andreea Zmarandache
Business Name Iliad, LLC
Trading As Ryan’s Daughter
Address 600 E. Belvedere Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the two applicants; the application is to add one person to the license. The business has been in its location for years, and it will not change in its operation. Councilman Bill Henry and Govanstowne Business Association submitted letters of support. The building is in the Belvedere Square development, so the addition of live entertainment is subject to the Planned Unit Development (PUD) that covers the area.

Zoning R-5
Neighborhood Chinquapin Park
Area demographics 69% Black, 23% White; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 29% households have children under age 18; median household income: $44,853; 6% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 52.5%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# 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 None
Applicants Frank Petillo & Lucia Marangoni
Business Name 2112 Fleet, LLC
Trading As trade name pending
Address 2112 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership, request for live entertainment
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicants, explaining that the place is “relatively small,” that the acoustic music will be performed for fewer than 80 patrons. The Canton Community Association has no opposition. The Fells Prospect Community Organization, however, had tried and failed to get in touch with the applicants. FPCO wanted the applicants to sign the same agreement that the previous owners had signed. Kodenski said that his clients agree to the same terms and will sign the agreement.

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; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
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
# 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

Baltimore City resident: The Baltimore City resident on this license has no pecuniary interest in the business.

III. Reconsideration request:

Applicants Yamet Asress & Nurlign Nurlign
Business Name RAMA Enterprises, LLC
Trading As Mojito
Address 3301 Foster Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Reconsideration of suspension and fines from a hearing held on August 20, 2015
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle appeared on behalf of his clients, who were not present. When asked where his clients were, Hurdle said that they couldn’t be here today, because they were “probably at the restaurant getting it set up to reopen.”

Hurdle argued that, if his clients have to serve the full thirty day suspension, they may never be able to reopen. His clients completely understand the errors of their ways and are dedicated to correcting them. They’re hiring new staff, after terminating the entire former staff. The attorney said that this thirty day suspension would end up being a revocation, and Hurdle believes that the licensees should be given a second chance.

Chairman Neil replied that there are two problems with the request. The first problem is that the licensees are not present, which shows that they don’t care about what the Board says or thinks. The second problem is that the establishment has been closed for seven days and his Facebook page still shows DJs, dancing, and all the things that the licensees weren’t supposed to be doing. Hurdle objected to the Board taking this Facebook page into account. Neil pointed out that people are smoking hookah in the establishment, which is not allowed, in the photos on the Facebook page. Hurdle disagreed, and said that the hookah rules are “very unclear” in Baltimore City. Hurdle said that it was his mistake that his client did not appear.

Neil noted that the Board’s sound monitors had been recalibrated, so they will be taking readings in the future when there are noise complaints. Neil said that he does not intend to put people out of business, but he believes that Hurdle’s client is “thumbing his nose” at the Liquor Board. Neil suggested that the fine be doubled to $2,500 from $1,250 and his suspension could be cut in half, to 15 days.

Commissioner Hafey asked what changes the licensee has made in the last week, since the violation hearing where the suspension was assessed. Hurdle said that his client hasn’t made any changes, because he hasn’t been open. He could currently be open to serve food, since the Liquor Board doesn’t regulate anything but the sale of alcohol, but he is not.

Commissioner Trotter said that the licensee had put his own business at risk by letting another person manage it without his oversight, and the Facebook page is an indictment of the licensee’s lack of management skills. Trotter described the Facebook page as a “travesty.”

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; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied.
Vote tally 2-1 (Neil 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

In Maryland, the Court of Appeals has created the following rule about administrative agency reconsiderations in a case called Calvert County Planning Commission v. Howlin Realty Management: “An agency … may reconsider an action previously taken and come to a different conclusion upon a showing that the original action was the product of fraud, surprise, mistake, or inadvertence, or that some new or different factual situation exists that justifies the different conclusion. What is not permitted is a ‘mere change of mind’ on the part of the agency.”

Mr. Hurdle’s reconsideration request should have been denied (and was), because he was asking the Board to do something that they could not legally do: change their minds without a good reason. The four reasons for which the agency is allowed to change its mind are: 1. fraud, 2. surprise, 3. mistake, and 4. inadvertence. Mr. Hurdle had made all of the arguments at the original hearing that he made on August 27. The Board had taken them into consideration when it made its initial decision. To come back for a reconsideration without further evidence or argument was an insufficient request for reconsideration.

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