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Seven Harford businesses fined for serving alcohol to underage cadets

Seven Harford County businesses were fined Wednesday for serving alcohol to underage police cadets, and an Abingdon restaurant was fined because its licensees failed to cooperate with the liquor board.

Members of the liquor control board say they continue to be frustrated that area businesses seem willing to serve alcohol, often without even checking ID.

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All the violators were found during an Aug. 23 compliance test that used a 19-year-old and an 18-year-old police cadet. All the businesses admitted to the violations.

The liquor board ordered La Tolteca in Aberdeen and Campus Liquors in Bel Air to pay $2,000 each, the steepest of the fines.

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At La Tolteca, a bartender gave the cadets beer without asking identification or questioning them in any way, according to the violation report.

La Tolteca owners said the bartender did not have alcohol training and left the day of the compliance test out of embarrassment.

A cashier at Campus Liquors also gave one of the cadets a six-pack of beer without questioning him, according to the violation report.

Commissioner Michael Thomson told the merchants that unless a culture is created where new licensees check all IDs, "you are all going to keep being here."

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"We have six licensees out of seven that did not ask," Thomson said, referring to employees who did not check ID in any way.

Coakley's Pub in Havre de Grace was also fined $1,500, The Jarrettsville Pit was fined $1,000, Twin Silos Restaurant in Street was fined $1,000, Herb's Wine & Spirits in Edgewood was fined $1,000 and Discount Liquor in Bel Air was fined $1,000.

Two weeks ago, four other businesses that sell alcoholic beverages were fined for selling to a minor during the same compliance test. Three were fined $1,000 and one was fined $2,000.

Besides the compliance test, an Abingdon business was fined at least $500 for failing to cooperate with the board.

Pelican Cove, in the 400 block of Constant Friendship Boulevard, was originally found to have a 19-year-old tending bar temporarily while another employee was ill, according to a violation report.

The bartender admitted to serving a customer a beer Aug. 10, according to the report.

The board had asked Pelican Cove's licensees to present a plan by Sept. 17 for avoiding such incidents, but the licensees failed to do so.

On Wednesday, the board fined the licensees $500 and said the fine would be increased to $2,000 if a plan was not submitted by Friday.

Licensee Parviz Vedadi only said he would bring the plan in "as soon as possible" and criticized the board members for being insensitive to the state of the economy and the difficulty of running a business.

Tunney said: "We have been more than generous in reaching out to you but you have to work with us."

The liquor board also approved one-day beer and wine licenses for Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding; a Saturday Oktoberfest at St. Ignatius Holy Name Society; an Oct. 10 dinner for Harford Community College Foundation; an Oct. 10 bull and oyster roast at Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce; an Oct. 10 Oktoberfest for The Albert P. Close Foundation; an Oct. 14 fundraiser for the Committee to Elect Curtis Beulah; an Oct. 11 fall feast for the Edgewood High School Alumni Association; an Oct. 11 German dinner for the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church; an Oct. 11 farm-to-table dinner for the Rockfield Foundation; an Oct. 17 "Steppingstein" event for the Steppingstone Farm Museum; an Oct. 26 birthday BBQ bash for Norman 4 Senate; a Nov. 1 Halloween Monster Ball for Community Projects of Havre de Grace.

A one-day beer, wine and liquor license was also approved for a Costumes For a Cause Halloween event to be held at St. Patrick Church for Good Cause Foundation.

Jess Bousa, of Good Cause, said the group hopes to buy a building in Havre de Grace to use as a center for mentoring programs.

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