The owner of Abingdon Liquors was fined $3,000 and his license suspended for 10 days for buying alcohol from someone other than a licensed wholesaler and for not keeping complete records.
The Harford County Liquor Control Board agreed on the fine after a show-cause hearing at its meeting Wednesday afternoon in Bel Air. The board also fined Ruby Tuesday Inc. for not having a liquor licensee on the premises at the Bel Air location.
The board found KG Abingdon Liquors Inc., 1317 Abingdon Road, in violation of liquor laws that require alcohol be bought from a licensed wholesaler and that complete and accurate records be kept. In this case, the licensee, Savarin Patel, who received his license in February, said he purchased at least two cases of alcohol from the driver of a delivery truck.
Inspector Danielle Markette, who investigated the incident, said the cases were intended for Forty Liquor, which, according to Forty Liquor's invoices and the distributor's records, Forty Liquors received all its cases.
Patel admitted to purchasing the alcohol from the delivery truck driver, who he said sometimes has an extra case in the truck that is unaccounted for. The distributor said this was impossible because of their checks and balances system, Markette said during her report.
Board commissioners found Patel in violation in both instances and fined the business $1,000 for failing to keep complete and accurate records, and $2,000 and a levied a 10-day suspension for purchasing alcohol from a non-licensed wholesaler.
"I think this is very serious," Commissioner Randall Worthington Sr. said, adding it gives the retailer an unfair advantage against business owners who follow the rules.
Board members found Ruby Tuesday Inc. on Baltimore Pike in Bel Air failed to have a licensee on the premises during business hours, based on Markette's report and admission of the licensee. For that, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. was fined $100.
Liquor board members also discussed a proposed change to the county's tavern license.
The tavern license now precludes anyone younger than 21 from being admitted after 9 p.m. and that a tavern have a stocked and equipped kitchen. The change would allow minors in taverns until 11 p.m., but also specified that taverns are required to offer food until at least 11 p.m.
This license change, if approved, would affect the tavern licenses for: DuClaw Brewing Company, Eagle's Nest, Rodger's House Tavern, Long Shots Sports Bar, Harvey's Jr. and Old School Tavern.
The proposal will be advertised, according to Administrator Kathryn Thess, and open for public comment.
Members also approved a one-day wine license for a talent show at Harford Community College, hosted by Winds of Leadership, and the addition of Nima Tamang to the license for Sizzling Bombay in Bel Air.