Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on August 25, 2016.

Written by Becky Witt

11:00 a.m.

I. Violations:

Licensee(s) Max Dalton and Mehdi Poursaka
Business Name Ultra Lounge, LLC
Trading As Mirage
Address 401 W. Baltimore Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 3.12: General Welfare – March 26, 2016 – At approximately 12:30 am, the Baltimore City Police Department and BLLC (“officials”) responded to a call for service at the establishment. Upon arrival, officials observed a large crowd that was located just outside and in front of the club on 400 block of West Baltimore Street. Officials observed that parts of the crowd were located in the street and impeding the flow of vehicular traffic and creating a public safety hazard. The crowd became so large that the University of Maryland Police Department were instructed by the Baltimore City Police Department to close vehicular traffic on West Baltimore Street. It took approximately 10 minutes for police to clear the crowd. Investigation revealed that the crowd formed because the manager/operator stopped allowing patrons in as the establishment was at capacity. While still on location a fight involving four (4) patrons occurred inside the establishment at approximately 1:00 am. At that time the manager/operator closed the establishment. Officials also witnessed bloodied individuals leaving from and numerous broken bottles and blood within the establishment as it was being vacated.

Hearing notes

Liquor Board Inspector John Chrissomallis noted that the Baltimore City police officers who were at the establishment on the night in question were not present at the hearing. He testified that he was working that night with Vice Unit officers, doing special investigations. The officers were notified that there was a large crowd gathering at Mirage and were instructed to provide backup. When the officers and the inspector arrived at Mirage, there was still a large crowd of a few hundred people waiting to get into the club, but Chrissomallis said that the crowd was mostly back in order. The club at the time was below capacity, but the police asked him to stop letting people in. The owner agreed. The police lieutenant also asked whether the club owner would be willing to close at 2am, since there are lots of other establishments that need to be monitored at the 2am closing time, including at the Block. The owner agreed to that, as well. At last call, Chrissomallis said that others told him that a fight broke out. He did see a couple people run out with bloody shirts and he did see some broken bottles inside, afterwards. The inspector said that he did not believe that there were any arrests made or trips to the hospital.

Chairman Matricciani asked Inspector Chrissomallis about the basis for the violation: was it the fight or the large crowd outside? The inspector could not reply; he did not write the violation or the police report.

Commissioner Moore noted that the police report said that the security at the location was incompetent or unprepared and asked Inspector Chrissomallis to comment. The inspector couldn’t comment directly on the police officer’s observations, but he did say that a few patrons were allowed to sneak in through a back door, which they should not have been allowed to do.

Commissioner Greenfield asked about the establishment’s capacity. Chrissomallis replied that the club was under capacity at the time of this incident and added that a lot of night clubs in the city like to keep their patrons well under capacity so that they can observe the customers more easily.

Mr. Melvin Kodenski, for his clients, moved to dismiss the charge, based on the inspector’s testimony that the business was under capacity and the licensees were cooperative in response to the police officers’ requests. Chairman Matricciani stated that he was inclined to grant the motion, since the charge seemed to be about the crowd outside, but there wasn’t much testimony about the crowd being out of control. Commissioner Moore noted that it sounded like there was a general lack of control outside, and that the police had to shut down the street near a hospital. The real concern to Moore was the subsequent fight that Inspector Chrissomallis described, with bloodied patrons running out onto the street. She would deny the motion. Commissioner Greenfield agreed with Commissioner Moore that he would deny the motion.

The general manager of Mirage then testified about the events of March 26. He testified that Mirage was having a special event on that evening. He hired extra security, at the request of the police. He did not see a fight, but someone told him about it. He said that no one got hurt or went to the hospital. Commissioner Moore asked, if no one got hurt, where the blood came from. He corrected himself to say that he did see blood but he did not admit that anyone got hurt. He added that these incidents happen at the Casino, at the Stadium, everywhere. Commissioner Moore replied, “we’re talking about you.” He also said that the street is always closed when he has an event, which he does two or three times per month.

Zoning B-4-2
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? 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 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing No violation.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

All of the commisisoners expressed concerns about violations on the licensee’s record, but they were unanimous in saying that, without the police officers’ testimony, there wasn’t quite enough evidence to sustain the violation.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee(s) Maria Giorgakis
Business Name 3G, LLC
Trading As Wiley Gunters
Address 821-23 E. Fort Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – July 7, 2016 – At approximately 9:36 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Cinthya Castro Del Angel, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Del Angel entered the establishment and purchased 2 beers which were later identified as a “Bud Light” and “Miller Light.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Del Angel purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $7.63. Ms. Del Angel was then provided the two (2) beers by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Del Angel then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Del Angel.

Hearing notes

The licensee’s husband appeared for the hearing, with two others, and admitted the violation. The bartender who was on duty at the time admitted that it was his fault and that it was a slip in judgment. He normally does card people, but they don’t get a lot of minors in the establishment because they serve more expensive beer. The general manager of the bar submitted alcohol awareness certificates for their staff and updated alcohol management policies put in place since the incident.

Commissioner Moore asked what the policy will be for asking for identification. The bar manager responded that the policy has always been to card people who look under 30.

Zoning M-2-2
Neighborhood Riverside
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 15% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $73,342. 8% households live below 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 None
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 2
Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision Licensee’s representative’s admission of responsibility
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee(s) Alexander Wolde
Business Name A & D, LLC
Trading As Midtown Liquor Store
Address 17 W. Biddle Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – July 7, 2016 – At approximately 7:54 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Cinthya Castro Del Angel, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Del Angel entered the establishment and purchased a 12 pack of “Bud Light” cans. Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Del Angel purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $12.99. Ms. Del Angel was then provided 12 pack of “Bud Light” cans by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Del Angel then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Del Angel.

Hearing notes

The licensee admitted the violation. He said that his aunt was working that day at his store, she had been working all day and was tired and made a mistake. Chairman Matricciani noted that this establishment has a history of some violations but not for underage service. The licensee responded that he did have some violations for some cosmetic issues.

Under questioning from Commissioner Moore, Wolde testified that he was in DC on the night in question, but he is at the store almost every day. He has taken the alcohol management training course, but his aunt has not taken it.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mid-Town Belvedere
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? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine, one-day suspension.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision Prior violations on the licensee’s record, including sanitation, alterations without authorization, etc.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee(s) Christopher Spann
Business Name Riverside Avenue, LLC
Trading As Wine Market
Address 921 E. Fort Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – July 7, 2016 – At approximately 7:54 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Cinthya Castro Del Angel, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Del Angel entered the establishment and purchased a bottle of Treveri Rose wine. Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Del Angel purchased the alcoholic beverage for $16.99. Ms. Del Angel was then provided the bottle of Treveri Rose wine by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Del Angel then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Del Angel.

Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas requested to see a copy of the cadet’s identification in order to prove that she is under 21 years old. The sergeant for the sheriff’s office replied that he was not comfortable making the cadet’s private information part of the record. Instead, Chief Inspector Mark Fosler testified about the specifics of the incident, which were laid out in his report. Under questioning from Mr. Prevas, Fosler testified that the clerk on duty at the time was very upset after she found out that she had sold alcohol to a minor; she was cooperative with the inspectors and sheriffs’ department officials. The cadet testified that she is twenty years old and that she turned 21 after this incident in August. Prevas asked to see the cadet’s driver’s license, and she said no. Inspector Fosler testified that he had seen the cadet’s driver’s license and verified her date of birth. Chairman Matricciani denied Mr. Prevas’s request to see the license.

Chairman Matricciani asked about the good standing of the corporation with the state of Maryland. Mr. Prevas responded that his client’s 2016 personal property return was filed late, which is why the corporation is not currently in good standing.

Commissioner Moore asked the licensee where he was on the night in question. He replied that he was working from home that day, though he is normally there full time. He testified further that he retrained his staff and reminded them of the policy to card people under age 35. The clerk/bartender in question does not work at the establishment.

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Locust Point Industrial Area
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 15% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $73,342. 8% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; no, but the entity is a corporation, not an LLC.
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. Peter Prevas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250
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(s) Chae Kuk Cha and Min Cha
Business Name Aloha Tokyo, Inc.
Trading As Aloha Sushi
Address 1218 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – July 7, 2016 – At approximately 7:32 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Cinthya Castro Del Angel, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Del Angel entered the establishment and purchased a 12 pack of “Bud Light” cans. Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Del Angel purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $12.99. Ms. Del Angel was then provided the 12 pack of “Bud Light” cans by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Del Angel then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Del Angel.

Hearing notes

The licensees both appeared, without an attorney. They admitted the violation and apologized. Ms. Cha said that she has been in business for eight years without a violation, and it will never happen again. She said that their policy has been to card people under the age of 50; she said that some of her customers have been very offended to be carded. Chairman Matricciani replied that he is usually flattered when he is carded. Cha said that her father has been recertified for alcohol awareness, and she will be recertified next week.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mid-Town Belvedere
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? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
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

1:00 p.m.

II. Violations:

For the second half of the docket, Alternate Commissioner Harvey Jones was present, in place of Commissioner Dana Moore.

Licensee(s) Juan Ortiz
Business Name La Roca, LLC
Trading As La Roca
Address 3210-14 Pulaski Highway
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 27, 2016 – At approximately 9:17 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles of “Corona.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $10.00. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a 6-pack of 12 oz. bottles of “Corona” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

The licensees failed to appear for the hearing. Deputy Executive Secretary Thomas Akras checked the file and confirmed that an inspector had delivered notice of the hearing on the violation to Susan Ortiz.

Chief Inspector Mark Fosler testified about the violation, based on his report. After the 20-year-old cadet was able to purchase alcohol from the establishment, Fosler noted that they checked the identification of the clerk, and the clerk was only sixteen years old. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to sell alcohol in Maryland. Commissioner Greenfield asked whether there was a charge on the docket relating to the underage clerk; Fosler replied that there was not.

The original vote tally on this case was not particularly clear, because the commissioners negotiated the fine and the suspension back and forth but seemed to all agree at the end. Chairman Matricciani suggested a $250 fine without a suspension. Commissioner Jones thought that the failure to appear should come with a $500 fine and a 10-day suspension. Commissioner Greenfield suggested a $250 fine and a 5-day suspension, to which the other two seemed to agree.

The licensee did appear, however, some time before the 1:00pm docket ended, and the case was re-called at the end of the session. Chairman Matricciani explained to the licensee what had happened at the earlier hearing. James Ortiz explained that he had a family-oriented difficulty which made them late to the hearing. The licensee admitted the violation, that he made a mistake. James Ortiz explained that the person who made the mistake was a helper who is normally not at the register. The employee in question still works for them but will never be near the register.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Ellwood Park/Monument
Area demographics 3% White, 90% Black, 1% Asian. 4% Hispanic ethnicity. 51% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $33,352.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 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 0
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
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

Inspector Fosler did not explain why the board did not issue a violation for the underage employee, and the commissioners did not ask. This issue was partially addressed during the licensee’s testimony later in the afternoon.

Licensee(s) Scott Schleupner
Business Name SCS Holdings, LLC
Trading As Social Pub and Pie
Address 25 E. Cross Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 27, 2016 – At approximately 11:04 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a “Vodka and Soda Water.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $7.75. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided with a “Vodka and Soda Water” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Shaulis, for his client, admitted the violation. In mitigation, he told the commissioners that this bar has been in operation for two years. They’ve never had a violation. The bartender who served the cadet was alcohol management certified, but her certification had expired. Mr. Schleupner, the licensee, has made arrangements to have all his employees re-certified. His client is very embarrassed by the mistake, and it has never happened to him before.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Annapolis, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Frank Shaulis
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision No record of prior violations
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee(s) Peter Pliva and Binita Shah
Business Name Shiya, Inc.
Trading As Pulaski Liquor Emporium
Address 6425 Pulaski Highway
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 27, 2016 – At approximately 8:41 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “Bud Ice.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $7.39. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a 6-pack of “Bud Ice” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Shaulis, for his client, admitted the violation. In mitigation, Shaulis proffered that the license transferred seven years ago and the licensees have not had any violations in that time. The employee in question has had some health problems and was in pain that day and lost concentration. Ms. Shah testified that she would work with this employee to ensure that he does not lose concentration in the future.

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? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Frank Shaulis
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision Lack of history of violations
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee(s) Nidia Sierra
Business Name Bernia, Inc.
Trading As Honey’s Lounge
Address 1722-24 Gough Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 25, 2016 – At approximately 7:55 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “Blue Moon” beer. Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $9.99. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a 6-pack of “Blue Moon” beer by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Ms. Nidia Sierra and Ms. Cathy Sierra appeared and admitted the violation. The bartender testified that she had been working at her mom’s establishment for ten years and had never sold to a minor. There had been a lot of robberies in the past few months. Another customer did not have enough money to make his purchase and was hanging around. Since the cadet had a $20 bill in her hand, this other customer tried to ask her for money to make his purchase. The bartender said that she was concerned for the girl’s safety since she was alone, but she has learned her lesson and been much more careful to ask for identification since then. Commissioner Greenfield encouraged the women to update their alcohol awareness certification.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Upper Fells Point
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; 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 0
# of inspectors/police officers 4
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
Licensee(s) William Bonnett and Regina Bonnett
Business Name Loading Dock Discount Liquors, Inc.
Trading As Loading Dock
Address 2101 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 25, 2016 – At approximately 8:15 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a bottle of “Svedka Vodka” and one bottle of “Minute Maid Orange Juice.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for $13.94. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a bottle of “Svedka Vodka” and one bottle of “Minute Maid Orange Juice” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski admitted the violation on behalf of Mr. Bonnett, who was present. The Bonnetts have been licensees at the establishment since 1988 or 1990, according to Mr. Kodenski. The last time they had a violation was 2007. The employee who sold to the cadet was suspended for one week and the rest of the staff was cautioned to check IDs.

Zoning B-3-3
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, 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 3
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
Licensee(s) Mohammad Abu-Khdeir
Business Name N/A
Trading As House of Spirits
Address 2300 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.01(a): Sales to Minors – May 25, 2016 – At approximately 8:37 PM, The Baltimore Sheriff’s Office, and the BLLC conducted random, joint investigations of establishments to determine if licensees would sell alcoholic beverages to minors. The joint task force responded to the establishment and sent Baltimore City Sheriff volunteer/cadet Christina Barrios-Lopez, who is under the age of 21, into the establishment to attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage(s). At that time Ms. Barrios-Lopez entered the establishment and purchased a 6-pack of “Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA.” Utilizing a departmental $20 bill, Ms. Barrios-Lopez purchased the alcoholic beverage(s) for $11.98. Ms. Barrios-Lopez was then provided a 6-pack of “Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA” by the bartender/store clerk. Ms. Barrios-Lopez then communicated to the task force of the sale. Members of the task force entered the establishment and notified the bartender/store clerk that an alcoholic beverage(s) had just been sold to a minor and it would be reported to the BLLC. The task force then recovered the marked currency and returned both the alcoholic beverage(s) to the bartender and the change that was provided to Ms. Barrios-Lopez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas admitted the violation, on behalf of his client, after receiving verification of the age of the cadet, Ms. Barrios-Lopez. In mitigation, Prevas proffered that the licensee has been in business at this location since 1981. There have been no violations in the past ten years. The clerk on duty was distracted by a disruptive individual who was in the store, when the cadet came in. Mr. Prevas submitted a letter from the Liquor Board congratulating his clients on not selling to an underage cadet on a different occasion.

After the hearing, Mr. Prevas asked whether his clients’ identifying documents (driver’s licenses, passports) are being published on the Liquor Board’s website. Mr. Akras responded that all identifying information is redacted. Prevas replied that he thinks it’s a bad idea.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
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

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.