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June 29, 2011

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MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF LICENSE COMMISSIONERS
OF CECIL COUNTY

 

The Board of License Commissioners of Cecil County met in a regular session at the County Administrative Building, Conference Room, 200 Chesapeake Boulevard, Elk Room, Elkton, MD on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 9:00 A.M.

PRESENT:
             Tim Snelling, Chairman

Herrell 'Cuz' Curry, Commissioners
                William Gerweck, Commissioner

                                H. Norman Wilson, Jr., Esquire

                                Earl R. Bradford, Chief Alcohol Beverage Inspector
                                Robin Coyle, Administrative Assistant

 

Hardship Extension - James William Kuhn and Elizabeth Rose Kuhn; Bainbridge Grill, Inc. T/A Bainbridge Grill, 1195 Tome Highway, Port Deposit, Maryland 21904 – B-121

 

Liz Kuhn appeared before the Board; she stated Jim was away with work.  Mrs. Kuhn explained when they began this process, her husband was going to quit his job and run the restaurant and then the bad economy hit and he had to keep his full-time job and try to run the restaurant on the weekends when he was home.  She stated they have closed and are looking for prospective lessees.  She requested a hardship extension; the Board reviewed what they were legally able to grant them.  Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve the hardship extension through renewal; Mr. Curry seconded that motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the request for the hardship extension through renewal.

 

Request For Outside Sales - Albert J. Bruno, Jr.; 5 O'clock LLC, Licensee; Joseph A. Brown, Lease Manager; T/A Bees Nest Express, 29 North Main Street, Port Deposit, MD 21904 – B-115

 

Joseph Brown appeared before the Board; he stated he has a letter from the town of Port Deposit granting him permission to utilize tables outside for the sale of alcoholic beverages, as well as having music outside.  Chairman Snelling asked if there was a fence; Mr. Brown stated there is a fence.  Chairman Snelling asked if they've had any problems; Mr. Brown stated they haven't had any complaints, no fights, no disturbances at all at the Bees Nest.  Chairman Snelling stated "we've had some problems down in Port Deposit, some other places down there; we're trying to keep a close eye on it down there.  I think you're probably aware of the circumstances down there."  Mr. Brown asked for permission to have music outside, he stated the music will stop between 10:00-10:30; he said outdoors would be no servers, if they want a beer, they have to get up to get it.  Commissioner Gerweck asked how he controls if someone comes up and orders five beers; Mr. Brown stated they check IDs; they have armbands they issue to patrons of the patio bar.  Mr. Brown stated this is mainly for Friday and Saturday evenings.  Commissioner Gerweck stated he would like to see a drawing of the property with the bar; Chairman Snelling stated he has seen the property; it sits back off the road. Commissioner Curry made a motion to approve the outdoor use; stating his biggest concern was with the town and the town doesn't seem to have a problem with it; Chairman Snelling seconded the motion and Chairman Snelling and Commissioner Curry voted to approve the outdoor use and Commissioner Gerweck voted against this, stating he does not have enough information.  There was a brief discussion, Mr. Brown stated they will only serve beer and wine outside, no liquor sales, he would like sales outside.  Commissioner Curry withdrew his motion, Chairman Snelling withdrew his second; Commissioner Curry then made a motion to approve outdoor sales with music with a 30-day trial period; Chairman Snelling seconded the motion and Chairman Snelling and Commissioner Curry voted to approve the outdoor sales with music with a 30-day trial period and Commissioners Gerweck voted against this.

 

Request for Outside Music - Patricia Vargas, T/A The Hidden Bean, 8 South Main Street, Port Deposit, MD 21904 - B-149

 

Patricia Vargas appeared before the Board; she stated she would like permission to have outdoor music; they will not have table service.  She stated on Thursday nights they have Jazz Night and people would like to sit outside and enjoy it.  She said she would like to have the music outside as well.  Chairman Snelling asked if she had permission from the Town; she stated she does, she does not have a letter.  Chairman Snelling stated she will need to get a letter from the Town.  Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve, on a temporary 30-day basis, outdoor entertainment, as long as she gets the letter from the Town; Commissioner Curry seconded the motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the request for outdoor entertainment.

 

Transfer - Application received from Patrick Evans, Evans Family Enterprises, LLC, T/A Delancy Liquors, 1197 E. Pulaski Highway, Suite D, Elkton, MD 21921 for transfer of Class "A" Beer, Wine & Liquor Alcoholic Beverage No. A-31from Baryali Nisar, Owner; Perwan LLC, T/Delancy Liquors, Delancy Plaza Shopping Center, Elkton, MD 21921 – A-31

 

Patrick Evans appeared before the Board; with attorney, William Hickey, III.  Mr. Evans was duly sworn by the Clerk; Mr. Wilson read the public notice which appeared on dates of June 15 and 22, 2011.  The fully executed application packet with proper fees included: Zoning Certificate signed by Craig Trostle, Director, Building and Zoning, Town of Elkton; signatures of 10 registered voters and property owners in District 3-1; Alcohol Awareness Training; Certification Form stating the nature of the business will be a restaurant with alcohol sales; Validation for Sunday Sales requesting on and off-premise sales; Worker's Compensation to be submitted at a later date.  Mr. Wilson asked the applicants if the questions that he answered as part of the application packet were true today as they were when he signed the application; the applicant stated yes.  Mr. Hickey stated they have a tentative settlement date of Friday, July 8, if the application is approved today.  Chairman Snelling asked if he would be changing the way they do business, Mr. Evans stated no.  With no further questions, Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve the transfer conditioned upon Settlement, Bulk Transfer Permit being received and receiving a copy of the lease agreement for the property; Commissioner Curry seconded that motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the transfer with the conditions as stated.

 

Transfer and Reclassification - Application received from Xochilt Perry, Summer Grille, LLC, T/A The Anchorage, 2495 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD 21901 for transfer and reclassification of Class "A" Beer, Wine & Liquor Alcoholic Beverage No. A-37 from Chandrakant Kashibhai Patel, Licensee; T/A The Anchorage, 2495 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD 21901

 

Xochilt Perry appeared before the Board; she was duly sworn by the Clerk; Mr. Wilson read the public notice which appeared on dates of June 15 and 22, 2011.  The fully executed application packet with proper fees included: Zoning Certificate signed by Curtis McCardell, Office of Planning & Zoning, Cecil County, signatures of 10 registered voters and property owners in District 5-3; Alcohol Awareness Training; Certification Form stating the nature of the business will be a restaurant with alcohol sales; Validation for Sunday Sales requesting on and off-premise sales; Worker's Compensation to be submitted at a later date.  Mr. Wilson asked the applicants if the questions that she answered as part of the application packet were true today as they were when she signed the application; the applicant stated yes.  Ms. Perry stated she is leasing the property with a lease/purchase option.  Commissioner Gerweck asked about the kitchen and hood system needed for the reclassification; Ms. Perry stated she has ventless equipment that does not require a hood system.  Chairman Snelling asked if she will be changing anything else with the reclassification; she stated they would like to request outdoor use and sales.  With no further questions, Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve the transfer and reclassification with outdoor use and sales of alcoholic beverages with a 30-day trial period; Commissioner Curry seconded that motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the transfer with the conditions as stated and reclassification with outdoor use and sales of alcoholic beverages with a 30-day trial period.

 

Transfer - Application received from Michael McNeal, Upper Chesapeake Restaurant, Inc., T/A Mick's Crab House, 902 E. Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD 21921 for transfer of Class "B" Beer, Wine & Liquor Alcoholic Beverage License No. B-1 from Mark D'Azevedo, President/Secretary/Treasurer; Bentley's, Inc., T/A Bentley's, 902 E. Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD 21921

 

Michael McNeal appeared before the Board; she was duly sworn by the Clerk; Mr. Wilson read the public notice which appeared on dates of June 15 and 22, 2011.  The fully executed application packet with proper fees included: Zoning Certificate signed by Craig Trostle, Director, Building and Zoning, Town of Elkton, signatures of 10 registered voters and property owners in District 3-3; Alcohol Awareness Training; Certification Form stating the nature of the business will be a restaurant with alcohol sales; Validation for Sunday Sales requesting on and off-premise sales; Worker's Compensation to be submitted at a later date.  Mr. Wilson asked the applicant if the questions that he answered as part of the application packet were true today as they were when he signed the application; the applicant stated yes.  Mr. Wilson asked if he were buying or leasing the property; Mr. McNeal stated leasing.  Chairman Snelling asked if he was going to change the way they're doing business; Mr. McNeal stated he will be serving crabs and would like to utilize the outside area, he has begun working on this area, he stated eventually he would like to put up a Tiki bar and have outdoor sales, as well.  Chief Bradford stated he will need to come back in and request permission for that when he's ready.  With no further questions, Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve the transfer conditioned upon submitting the Sales & Use tax number to the office and receiving the Bulk Transfer Permit; Commissioner Curry seconded that motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the transfer with the conditions as stated.

Update - B-142 - Paul Trapani, The Boat Warehouse, Inc., T/A Sunset Cafe, 111 River Road, Chesapeake City, MD 21915 – B-142

 

Mr. Trapani appeared before the Board to update the Board on what has been happening at the establishment; he stated he is almost ready, he has run into a gamut of problems, which has cost him additional money, but he is ready for the final inspections.  Chairman Snelling asked him how much time he needed, he stated an additional 30-days.  Commissioner Gerweck made a motion to approve a 30-day extension, Commissioner Curry seconded that motion and the Board then voted unanimously to approve the 30-day extension.

Violation – Disorderly Conduct and Rowdy Behavior - Amy Lynn Charles, Owner; Katina Shae Knox, Owner; Slacker's Inc., T/A Drunk Monkey, 989 E. Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD 21921 - D-104

Mr. Wilson stated he spoke with Attorney, William Riddle over the past few days and it was agreed they would go on an agreed statement of fact for both hearings, but Mr. Wilson will give them a little leeway with calling their own witnesses and asking questions, etc.

 

Mr. Wilson called Lt. Waldridge, Elkton Police to testify; Lt. Waldridge, Detective Holly Smith, Officer Lindsey Ziegenfuss, Inspector Stephen Odell, Katina Knox, Chris Knox, Kalum Prino, Joel Johnson, Andrew Woodin were duly sworn by the Clerk. 

Lt. Waldridge testified they have had 35 reportable incidents at the Drunk Monkey, some of which were initiated by the establishment; these incidents include traffic violations to felony criminal charges.  He stated because of the ongoing investigation he cannot elaborate on several of the case, however, the felony charges are a potential date rape/kidnapping involving an employee; there was also an assault/stabbing on May 21 which involved four patrons exiting the establishment.  William Riddle, representing the owners of Drunk Monkey asked to see the reports, in which Lt. Waldridge removed the reports from the ongoing criminal cases.  Commissioner Gerweck asked Lt. Waldridge how many establishments are in their jurisdiction, he stated about half a dozen; Commissioner Gerweck then asked how many service calls they've had for those six establishments, Lt. Waldridge stated at most a total of four.  Mr. Riddle asked Lt. Waldridge how many service calls they have at Walmart; Lt. Waldridge stated he was unsure of that number, stating he was not here to testify about Walmart, but there are several calls for shoplifting there.

Mr. Wilson called Officer Lindsey Ziegenfuss to the stand.  She stated she works Patrol Division B and it has become routine for several of their officers to sit in the parking lot outside of the Drunk Monkey at closing time, because of the number of calls they receive for the establishment.  She described an incident in which a patron exited Drunk Monkey, got on his scooter and he began to wreak havoc in the parking lot, even with officers present.  This patron was arrested and they later found that he had drugs on his person, in which he had on his person inside the Drunk Monkey.  Mr. Wilson asked if any other businesses are open at the time the Drunk Monkey closes; Officer Ziegenfuss stated no. 

Mr. Wilson called Detective Holly Smith to the stand.  She stated she is involved in the rape/kidnapping case, as well as the stabbing case.  She stated in her investigation and talking with several witnesses, victims, etc. the patrons and/or bartender were all connected to the Drunk Monkey.  She did state when she contacted the owners, they were cooperative and provided whatever she asked of them.

Mr. Riddle called Chris Knox to the stand; he asked how he's connected with the Drunk Monkey; Mr. Knox stated he's the owner.  Mr. Riddle asked if the bartender involved in the rape incident is still an employee; Mr. Knox stated no.  Mr. Riddle asked if he was allowed on the premises; Mr. Knox stated no.  Mr. Riddle, referring to the stabbing incident, asked what the involvement of their employees; Mr. Knox stated someone banged on the door and said someone was being stabbed, all of the employees went out and tackled the guy and held him until the police got there.  Mr. Riddle asked what, if anything, they have done regarding the police being at the establishment at closing; Mr. Knox said he has asked several times for police help for the parking lot problem.  He continued he didn't know what they could do to curb the problem if they don't respect the presence of the police.  Mr. Riddle asked referring to the incidents from January 1 through May 22 time frame, how many times did they have to call police for incident inside the establishment; Mr. Knox stated none that he could recall inside the establishment.  Mr. Riddle asked if, at closing time, they are able to clear the bar and get everyone away from, at least the sidewalk area; Mr. Knox stated they can get everyone out by 2:15, but they congregate in the parking lot.  Mr. Knox stated he doesn't know how he can be responsible for the parking lot when the police can't even control that.  Mr. Wilson asked how many times he or his employees called the police during the January 1 through May time frame; Mr. Knox stated he does not recall, but they have called the police for fights.  Chairman Snelling asked what type of clientele they attracted; Mr. Knox stated generally 21 – 40 year old, they have live music, djs, and rock bands. 

Mr. Riddle stated they have not really had any incidents inside the bar; he continued that if the Board looked at the 35 incidents, they are not incidents that involve Drunk Monkey staff, except for the one, but the Drunk Monkey does not condone this type of behavior.  This is not a situation where they own the parking lot; they do not have the authority over the parking lot that the Board would like them to have. 

Mr. Wilson asked if they get a lot of business after the Delaware bars are closed; Mr. Knox stated around 12:30 or 1:00, they get all the Delaware business.  Mr. Wilson asked if they should regulate the business if they are visibly intoxicated, etc; Mr. Knox stated if they are swaying or drunk they don't even let them in the building.  Mr. Wilson stated in the Local Rules it is a violation if the licensee, agent or employee thereof is permitting continuous disturbances or disorders to occur on or about the licensed premises; Mr. Riddle asked what is the licensed premises; Mr. Wilson stated it says on or about the licensed premises.

BOARD DECISION:  Guilty – Suspend license 60 days to run consecutively with the other suspension for a total of 120 days plus a combined $250 cost of the proceedings which must be paid before the license is reissued.

Violation – Underage Sales - Amy Lynn Charles, Owner; Katina Shae Knox, Owner; Slacker's Inc., T/A Drunk Monkey, 989 E. Pulaski Highway, Elkton, MD 21921 – D-104

Chief Bradford read his report into the record.  Mr. Riddle asked Chief Bradford several questions regarding the investigation.  Mr. Riddle asked if the inspectors had completed compliance checks at the Drunk Monkey in the recent past; Chief Bradford stated not in the recent past, they have completed routine inspections, which are different than compliance checks.  Mr. Riddle asked him to explain the difference, in which he did.  Mr. Riddle then asked Chief Bradford about the night of the compliance check; he asked if he had attempted to do an investigation of this magnitude, giving an underage person a valid license, which says they're of age to go into a bar?  Chief Bradford stated no.  He asked if Chief Bradford could see the three employees once they went into the bar?  Chief Bradford stated no.  Mr. Riddle asked if Chief Bradford had checked any other IDs, if he checked anything else while he was inside the bar, if he ended up closing the establishment?  He answered no to each question.  Mr. Wilson asked Chief Bradford to elaborate on why he performed this type of compliance check at this establishment; Chief Bradford stated because of the number of complaints the office has received, we have never received the number of complaints, like we have about the Drunk Monkey.  Mr. Wilson asked how Chief Bradford came to be in possession of this license; Chief Bradford stated the former manager of the Drunk Monkey, Brian Davis had given it to him.

 

Mr. Riddle called Kalum Prino to take the stand.  He asked him several questions on how the Drunk Monkey runs the business, pertaining to checking IDs, etc.  He asked about this incident in particular; Mr. Prino stated he had gone to the rest room and was not at the door at the time the Liquor Board representatives entered the establishment.  Chairman Snelling asked if the area in which they check IDs was well lit; Mr. Prino stated is not lit, but there is enough light coming in from outside to light up the area.  He was asked if they have an ID reader; Mr. Prino stated they do have one; he was then asked if it was purchased before or after this incident; he stated he believes it was after.  He then was asked to identify the underage person and was shown pictures of the girl; he pointed out several differences between the pictures of the UV and the ID that she used.  Mr. Riddle asked if she had an ID and Mr. Prino stated yes; Mr. Riddle said, it was an actual ID not the blown up picture; he stated that is correct.

 

Mr. Riddle called Joel Johnson to the stand.  Mr. Riddle asked Mr. Johnson how he was related to the Drunk Monkey; Mr. Johnson stated he is a bartender there and was working on the night of the incident.  He then described the manner in which the drinks were ordered, in which he stated they ordered them separately at the bar.  He stated the one girl came up and said "I'll take a Mich Ultra" she asked the other girl and then said "Make that two".  Mr. Riddle asked if it is their practice to card people at the bar; Mr. Johnson stated the door guys are their front line and they have no reason to ask anyone for an ID at the bar.  Mr. Wilson asked if he knew which girl ordered; Mr. Johnson stated the girl on the right, his right ordered the beer.  Mr. Wilson asked how they were paid for; Mr. Johnson stated it was paid cash but he is unsure if it was paid separately or together and if there was change, he was certain it was paid cash, but was uncertain who paid and if it was together or if there was change.

 

Mr. Riddle called Andrew Woodin to the stand; he asked him how he was connected to the Drunk Monkey; Mr. Woodin stated he is head bouncer.  Mr. Riddle asked about the incident; he stated he was not involved in that, he stated Earl came up to him and told him there was an 18 year-old girl in the bar drinking beer.  Mr. Woodin stated she did not get in the door with an 18-year-old ID.  He said Earl had shown him the IDs and Mr. Woodin said there were some similarities if not identical.  He continued to describe their conversation.  Mr. Riddle asked what the standard procedure of checking ID; Mr. Woodin stated they check them crossing the parking lot, they check the ID to make sure it's valid, then they check the facial triangle, eyes, nose, mouth.  He stated it all falls down on the bouncer being able to see the face.  Mr. Wilson showed him the pictures of the ID and the UV; Mr. Woodin pointed out several differences.  Mr. Riddle stated he was shown the blow up picture.

 

Mr. Wilson called Inspector Odell to the stand; he asked him about the incident.  Inspector Odell explained the incident as he saw it, as described in his report.  Mr. Wilson asked if the bouncer ever looked up and looked at Brittany; Inspector Odell stated he did not look at his face.  Mr. Wilson asked about the lighting; Inspector Odell stated if the door is open there is some light.  Mr. Wilson then asked about the purchase of the alcohol; he stated he got to the bar as the change was being given; Mr. Wilson asked if it was purchased separately, he stated yes and the change was given separately.  Mr. Riddle asked if they walked to the door together; Inspector Odell stated no.  Mr. Riddle asked about him entering the door; he said he had to wait, there's not a lot of room in the area inside the door.  He asked about the lighting; he said there's not a lot when the door is open.  Mr. Wilson asked about the bouncer carding Brittany; he stated it was quick unlike when he carded him, in which he had to raise his shirt and spin around. 

 

Chairman Snelling told Mr. Riddle they would let them know.  Commissioner Gerweck asked Mr. Knox what benefit they offer the county; Mr. Knox stated it's a place to unwind.  Chairman Snelling stated they would receive a certified letter regarding their decision.

 

BOARD DECISION:  Guilty – Suspend license 60 days to run consecutively with the other suspension for a total of 120 days plus a combined $250 cost of the proceedings which must be paid before the license is reissued.

General Business

·                     Approve Minutes

·                     Catering Events

·                     Specials

 

Old Business

·         Rendezvous Inn – B-41 – Request for hardship extension

The Board approved a one-year hardship extension

·         The Yacht Club – B-128 – Request for Change of Trade Name

The Board approved the trade name be changed to Southside Bar & Grill

 

New Business

With no further business to discuss the meeting was adjourned.

 

BY:

                                                                                                                               

Tim Snelling, Chairperson

 

ATTEST:

                                                                                                                               

Robin S. Coyle, Administrative Assistant