Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on August 11, 2016.

Written by Becky Witt

11:00 a.m.

I. Regular Items (Hardships,Transfers and Expansions):

Applicant Joseph Dipasquale
Business Name J. Dipasquale & Sons, Inc.
Trading As Dipasquale’s
Address 3700 Gough Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add outdoor table service, live entertainment, and off-premise catering.
Hearing notes

Mr. Dipasquale testified that he would like to add three small tables in front, with no more than six seats. The Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals has already approved the details of the outdoor tables. One community member, Mr. Ronald Derr, testified in opposition to the application. He was concerned about an expansion of packaged goods sales and about live entertainment. He has lived a block from Dipasquale’s for thirty-six years. He thought that outdoor live entertainment that the restaurant hosted last year was “a bit much.” Consultant Will Bauer pointed out that the live entertainment music will be acoustic, not amplified, and it will end at 7pm on weeknights and 10pm on weekends.

Mr. Derr also said that there are issues with deliveries and parking: delivery trucks sometimes block the street. Also, he said that the restaurant puts notes on windshields when neighbors park in front for more than an hour. Mr. Bauer replied that there are ten off-street parking spots in a parking lot nearby. Derr says that sometimes there are deliveries and trash pickups at 4am; Mr. Dipasquale said that he had addressed that issue already.

The commissioners expressed concern that the business owner and neighbors be able to work together in the future. The licenesee testified that he is the manager and owner of the business and is very sensitive to community concerns.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 66% White, 9% Black, 3% Asian; 19% Hispanic ethnicity, 17% households have children under age 18; median household income: $60,484; 15% 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? No.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 0%
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision Alc. Bev. Article section 4-210(a) factors
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Mr. Dipasquale is not a Baltimore City resident, though his application states that he has been one for 43 years. There is a notation on his application that says “amended” next to his home address, which is in Baltimore County. The commissioners did not mention this.

Alcoholic Beverages Article section 2-407 says that an application “shall be made on behalf of an entity that is a corporation … by three officers or employees residing in the State.” If there are fewer than three officers, then all officers shall make the application. In this case, the application clearly shows that there are four officers and only one applicant. This application is therefore not in conformity with the Alcoholic Beverages Article.

Applicants Sam Winn and Dong Lyul Kim
Business Name Dobig, Inc.
Trading As Green Tree Liquors
Address 1400 W. Baltimore Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership.
Hearing notes

Mr. Hyunjae Shin represented the applicant; he brought a certified court interpreter with him to interpret on behalf of his client. Shin proffered that his client had reached out to the Franklin Square community association and spoken with the President. The organization’s president had said that the liquor store was a model business in the community and has had no issues with loitering or other criminal activities. The applicants did not, however, provide anything in writing from the community association.

Shin submitted a petition in support of the transfer as well as a copy of Mr. Kim’s alcohol awareness training certificate.

Commissioner Moore asked about Mr. Winn’s alcohol management experience. Mr. Shin replied that he has no experience, but Mr. Kim has been at the store since 2003 as a manager, so he has 13 years’ experience. He may hire employees at some point, but he will mostly be working by himself to start out. Commissioner Moore expressed concern about Mr. Kim’s language ability, since he required an interpreter for the hearing. Mr. Shin replied that Mr. Kim knows enough English to transact business with his customers. In 2008, he did accidentally serve alcohol to a minor, but he learned his lesson.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Franklin Square
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 Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 1%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Hyunjae Shin
# 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 Alc. Bev. Article section 4-210(a) factors
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Sarbjit Kaur and Alicia Wines
Business Name Badwal, LLC
Trading As Trade name pending
Address 1000 W. Lombard Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski proffered, for his clients, that they are applying for the transfer of ownership, not location, of an existing license. There are ten or twelve bar stools and a couple tables inside; it is a small place in the Hollins Roundhouse neighborhood. Ms. Wines is the qualifying Baltimore City resident. There will be no entertainment and no food sold, except for prepackaged snacks. Ms. Wines has worked in several alcohol establishments in Maryland and Virginia. Ms. Singh is a nurse.

Commissioner Moore expressed confusion about how the business will be run: the applicants plan to be open from 10 or 11am until 2am, but they also have full-time jobs. Ms. Singh said that, though she is a registered nurse, she can set her own hours. Ms. Wines said that she works in commercial real estate and will be available to help with the business on weekends.

Zoning R-8
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 Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 1%
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 Charles Gjerde, Carrie Podles, and John Burke
Business Name Wicked Sisters, LLC
Trading As Wicked Sisters
Address 3845 Falls Road
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 capitalinvestment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people; request for off-premise catering.
Hearing notes

Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman represented the two applicants. He proffered that they will be opening a modern casual steakhouse, with a $900,000 investment and 130 seats on the first and second floor of the building. There will be outdoor seating behind the building as well. The third applicant was not present at the hearing, because he was on vacation, but he already holds a license and runs two other establishments. Fogleman submitted one signed original copy of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hampden Community Council and the Hampden Merchants’ Association. The applicants have already spent $693,000 in their renovation work.

These licensees have been on eight different licenses since 1991 and have not had any violations at any of those establishments.

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, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 11%
Attorney for licensee Former Liquor Board Chair Mr. Stephan Fogleman
# 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 Alc. Bev. Article section 4-210(a) factors
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Anania Fantanhun, Ayele Mekdim and Nebiyou Seyoum
Business Name Anyx, LLC
Trading As Anyx Lounge
Address 1818 Maryland 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; request for live entertainment, outdoor table service, off-premise catering and delivery of alcoholic beverages.
Hearing notes

Mr. Abraham Hurdle proffered, for his clients, that they have over twenty years’ experience in the alcohol and restaurant business. The establishment will have 86 indoor seats, and Hurdle provided a list of costs for the proposed construction. Live entertainment is permitted at the zoning level as a matter of right and will consist of an occasional DJ or band. The doors and windows will be kept closed on those occasions. Hurdle noted that the community was “very easy to deal with,” which he said that he does not say often.

Mr. Alan Mlinarchik, of the Charles North Community Association testified in favor of the project, adding that they support the request for outdoor tables as long as there is sufficient space on the sidewalk for pedestrians to pass by.

Commissioner Moore noted that the applicants had not yet received their minor privilege permit for outdoor seating and wondered if the BLLC had the ability to approve alcohol service at the outdoor tables if that permit had not been obtained. Deputy Executive Secretary Thomas Akras testified that the BMZA doesn’t hold a hearing for a minor privilege, because they are permitted by right. Zoning does sign off, but they don’t issue a letter or resolution. Commissioner Greenfield asked if the BLLC was allowed to vote in favor of outdoor tables, pending the approval of the minor privilege. Mr. Hurdle responded that “previous boards have done that,” to which Commissioner Moore objected.

Zoning B-5-2
Neighborhood Charles North
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 1%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally 2-1, Moore dissenting on outdoor tables
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

Minor Privilege permits are issued by the Baltimore Department of Transportation, not the Board of Muncipal and Zoning Appeals. Therefore, the section in the Alcoholic Beverages Code that Commissioner Moore was worried about does not exactly apply. Alcoholic Beverages Article section 12-407(a)(2)(i) says that an application is not complete unless the applicant has obtained zoning approval. Because the business is allowed by right here, there is no zoning approval required.

1:00 p.m.

II. Violations:

Licensee Jose Bulnes
Business Name K & D Restaurant, Inc.
Trading As K & D Restaurant
Address 3706-08 Eastern Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.08(a): Relations with Wholesalers- March 11, 2016- At approximately 1:15PM, the Maryland State Comptroller’s office, through Agent Kevin Burley, conducted an investigation at the establishment. Upon conducting his investigation Agent Burley discovered four (4) bottles of various types of alcohol (spirits) that lacked proper distributor purchasing invoices. Agent Burley then asked the bar manager, Ms. Zenia Nunez, for the invoices for the 4 bottles of alcohol. Ms. Nunez informed Agent Burley that she did not have the invoices for the bottles. Agent Burley informed Ms. Nunez of the violation and confiscated the 4 bottles of alcohol.

Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski, for his client, admitted the violation. He said, as he usually does, that his client “had a case of the shorts,” where they didn’t want to order a full case of something and they weren’t allowed to buy a half case, so they bought individual bottles from a retail store.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 66% White, 9% Black, 3% Asian; 19% Hispanic ethnicity, 17% households have children under age 18; median household income: $60,484; 15% 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? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible. $200 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
Licensee Sierra Dennison & Vincent Griffin
Business Name GM Holding, Inc.
Trading As Lust
Address 408 E. Baltimore Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License/Adult Entertainment
Reason for hearing

Violation of AB Rule 3.09(a): Restroom Facilities and Health Regulations – February 25, 2016 – At approximately 10:15 PM, BLLC inspection staff conducted an inspection of the establishment based on an anonymous complaint that the bathrooms were dirty. Upon arrival, inspectors observed that the establishment was open and operating. An inspection of the bathrooms was performed and BLLC staff noticed unsanitary conditions in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Upon discovery, the bar manager admitted that the restrooms had not been cleaned for at least four (4) days. BLLC inspectors instructed the bar manager to clean the bathrooms. Once cleaned, BLLC staff reinspected both bathrooms and observed they were in compliance.

Violation of AB Rule 4.16: Illegal Conduct – July 20, 2016 – At approximately 9:00am, BLLC staff conducted a review of the corporate status of the entity known as “GM Holdings, Inc.” and found that the entity was deemed “forfeited” by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. Also at that time, staff conducted a review and determined that a 2016-2017 trader’s license had not yet been issued to the establishment.

Violation of AE Rule 3.11(a): Restroom Facilities and Health Regulations – February 25, 2016 – At approximately 10:15 PM, BLLC inspection staff conducted an inspection of the establishment based on an anonymous complaint that the bathrooms were dirty. Upon arrival inspectors observed that the establishment was open and operating.An inspection of the bathrooms was performed and BLLC staff noticed unsanitary conditions in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Upon discovery, the bar manager admitted that the restrooms had not been cleaned for at least four (4) days. BLLC inspectors instructed the bar manager/licensee to clean the bathrooms. Once cleaned, BLLC staff reinspected both bathrooms and observed they were in compliance.

Violation of AE Rule 3.18: Illegal Conduct and Codes Compliance – July 20, 2016 – At approximately 9:00am, BLLC staff conducted a review of the corporate status of the entity known as “GM Holdings, Inc.” and found that the entity was deemed “forfeited” by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. Also at that time, staff conducted a review and determined that a 2016-2017 trader’s license had not yet been issued to the establishment.

Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski, for Ms. Dennison, admitted the violation. He explained that his client has a large tax liability and is trying to work out a payment plan. A new owner has applied for the transfer of both licenses, the liquor license and the adult entertainment license. Currently, just the adult entertainment license is in use; the licensee could not pick up her liquor license because of the tax hold on it. Commissioner Moore noted, “dancing and Kool-Aid, sounds good.” Kodenski admitted, for his client, that the bathroom was dirty when the inspector visited, but she now inspects it hourly to make sure that it is clean.

The corporation that owns this liquor license is forfeited by the state of Maryland; therefore, according to Deputy Executive Secretary Thomas Akras, they cannot operate. In Maryland, it is a misdemeanor to operate one’s business with a forfeited charter, which is why the licensee was charged with illegal conduct under the BLLC rules.

Commissioner Moore asked the licensee her age; Ms. Dennison responded that she is 26. Moore asked how long she has owned and operated the business; Dennison said that she started at Lust six or seven years ago, when she was 19 years old. She has been the licensee for four or five years.

Zoning B-5-2
Neighborhood Downtown
Area demographics 39% White, 37% Black, 16% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,146; 18% households live below poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No; no. It has been forfeited by the state of Maryland.
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. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible. $1,000 fine, 60 day suspension.
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
Licensee Tania Ramos
Business Name La Rumba, LLC
Trading As La Rumba
Address 1650-54 E. Pratt Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.12: General Welfare – July 10, 2016 – At approximately 1:27 am, Baltimore City Police Officer Zeino responded to the 1600 block of East Pratt Street for call for service concerning a cutting. Upon arrival Officer Zeino observed two males, one of which was bleeding severely from the neck and one attempting to walk away from the scene. The male who was bleeding from the neck stated that the male who was walking away from the scene was the individual who attacked him. Upon investigation police discovered that the victim and attacker were inside the establishment and were involved in a verbal altercation which led to the both of them being exited out of the establishment by security. After being exited from the premise it was at this time that the attacker struck the victim with a broken glass bottle which caused him to bleed severely.

Hearing notes

Mr. Nico Ramos told the commissioners, that this incident on July 10 happened outside of his bar. When he calls the police on the people loitering in front of the restaurant, they cross to the other side of the street. Ramos said that, on this night, he had told the people on the street not to come inside. He said that he always tries to keep the music low and the place clean.

Baltimore City Police Officer Zelno testified that he was walking the beat near La Rumba when he heard a commotion. He said that the police department tries to keep an officer on that particular block because of the crime issue there and the large amount of bars. Zelno observed a physical altercation; he approached and saw a large amount of blood. The witnesses said that there was a verbal argument inside the bar, and both people were escorted outside. As they were being escorted out, one of the two in the argument took a glass bottle, broke it, and stabbed the other man in the neck with the broken bottle. They were located directly outside of La Rumba when this happened.

Ms. Chrissy Anderson, of Fells Prospect Community Organization, testified that she was tired of coming to the Liquor Board to testify about La Rumba and its issues over and over again. She asked the licensee why it was acceptable to push people who are fighting out onto the street. She said that Ramos has made no effort to improve his business or cooperate with the neighbors.

Mr. Jose Ribadeneira, licensee at the nearby Latin Palace, testified that the neighborhood is “infested” with rehab centers and bad quality people.

Commissioner Greenfield pointed out that Mr. Ramos was insisting that everything happened outside, but he said that Mr. Ramos has some responsibility both inside and outside of his premises. He expressed concern that the incident was “extremely serious” and that he was concerned that Mr. Ramos thought that he didn’t have responsibility.

Commissioner Moore pointed out that, the last time that Mr. Ramos was before the Board, on July 14, 2016, he told her that there were no more problems at his bar. But July 14 was only four days after this stabbing incident. She said that Mr. Ramos shows no responsibility. She asked Ramos why he called Mr. Ribadeneira immediately after the stabbing. Ramos said that he wasn’t worried about any violations at the time, but he and Mr. Ribadeneira talk all the time.

The Washington Hill community association submitted a letter of opposition to this licensee, which was entered into evidence.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Washington Hill
Area demographics From U.S. Census American Community Survey 2013 / Social Explorer: 74.5% Black, 19.5% White, 4.6% Other race, 1.4% Asian
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no.
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 None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible. $1,500 fine, 10 day suspension.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Matricciani noted that Mr. Ramos presents a picture of a troubled community, with businesses beset by individuals who are difficult to control. However, the problems seem to be focused around La Rumba. Commissioner Greenfield dissented on the length of the suspension: he thought it should be longer, like 30 days. He pointed out that Mr. Ramos comes back again and again, giving unsatisfactory answers to commissioners’ questions about how he plans to improve his establishment.

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

Comments are closed.

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

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

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