The owners of two eastern Howard County liquor outlets received stiff fines for serving underage patrons and ignoring other board rules.
The county's Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board imposed a $3,000 fine on Barbara Parkinson, John Curtis and Michael Halkos, licensees of the Wild Buffalo Grill in the 10000 block of Washington Blvd. in North Laurel.
A $1,500 fine was imposed on Grace Chong and Mary Soon Kim, license holders of Waterloo Liquors in the 6500 block of Old Waterloo Road in Elkridge.
Buffalo Grill's troubles began Sept. 23 last year when county Officer Mark Heron entered in plainclothes and saw a young customer with a bottle of beer. Heron found that the customer was 19 and had not been asked for identification.
The next night, when the county liquor inspector, Detective Martin Johnson, spoke to Curtis, he found that Curtis' 18-year old niece had been left in charge when the offense occurred. Curtis testified he had gone upstairs to his residence to deal with a family medical emergency and said the 19-year old grabbed a beer off the bar and was not served.
The board said Curtis "does not have an understanding of the rules and regulations and didn't think there was a problem leaving an 18-year-old niece" untrained in alcohol management in charge. Violations included serving an underage patron, not checking for identification and not having employees trained in alcohol awareness.
At Waterloo Liquors on Nov. 9, Johnson sent in a 19-year old police volunteer who was able to buy a six-pack of beer without identification. In this case, a stock boy, who said he was 21 and "filling in" as a sales clerk, was found to have made the sale. Johnson later found that the stock boy was 20, younger than the legal age to sell liquor.
Again, the board found an underage person was served without any request for identification and that the clerk was dishonest about his age.
The licensees have 10 days from March 28 to appeal.