The Honorable Board of License Commissioners met today with
the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum,
Mauritz Stetson, Alcoholic Beverage Inspector, and Susanne Hayman, County
Attorney, were also in attendance.
The Commissioners approved three, one day only, Class C Beer and Wine
Licenses for Mainstay, Inc., for musical performances to take place at
the Mainstay building in Rock Hall on the following dates: April 17 and
23, and May 8, 2004.
The Commissioners approved a three day only, Class C Beer License for
the Maryland Waterman's Association's Rockfish Tournament, to take place
at the Bulkhead on Bayside Avenue, Rock Hall Harbor, Rock Hall, on June
11, 12, 13, 2004.
C-TOWN LIQUORS & DELI
An Administrative Hearing was held at 9:30 a.m. in the Commissioners'
Hearing Room. John Krastel, President, JC's Liquors and Deli, Inc., licensee,
and his wife, Sandy Krastel, and the following summoned witnesses were
in attendance: Jenna Lynn Lusby, Mary Yerkie, Helen Meeks, and Sheila
Lepter, all of whom, as well as Mr. Stetson, were sworn in by Ms. Hayman
for giving testimony.
Ms. Hayman read into the record the hearing notice and probable cause
for a sale of an alcoholic beverage by an employee of C-Town Liquors and
Deli who was under the age of 21 years. This alleged violation is prohibited
by Article 2B, Section 12-302(c) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was first alerted to the alleged violation
by a customer, Sheila Lepter, who, after having purchased a 6-pack of
beer at C-Town Liquors, called Mr. Stetson to explain that she was reasonably
sure that the sale of her purchase was conducted by a minor, and that
she would be willing to testify about the same. Mr. Stetson reported that
he then went to C-Town Liquors to interview Jenna Lynne Lusby, the alleged
sale-clerk, asking her whether or not she actually conducted the transaction
of the sale for Mrs. Lepter.
Mr. Stetson indicated that Ms. Lusby's response was that she did not remember,
and that sometimes when the clerks at the store are busy, she helps out
with the transactions. She further conveyed that she was instructed by
the store-owners that she was not permitted to conduct the actual sale
of alcohol.Mr. Stetson advised that it is his understanding that the intent
of this particular alcoholic beverage law is to discourage peer pressure
among minors in the sale of alcohol.
In response to Commissioner Livie's question, Mr. Stetson reported that
the legal age for conducting the sale of alcohol is by State law, at least
21 years; however, provisions in some counties have additional restrictions,
such as prohibiting a minor from packaging alcoholic beverages.
Mr. and Mrs. Krastel expressed their opinion that when Mrs. Lepter presented
the 6-pack of beer at the counter for purchase, Jenna Lusby scanned the
product and put it in a bag, and that a different employee actually took
Mrs. Lepter's money. They further stated that their employees who are
minors often help out with stocking and bagging alcoholic beverages; they
indicated their opinion that their employee, Helen Meeks, who is over
21 years of age, completed the sale for Mrs. Lepter.
Mr. Stetson responded that the previous statements do not represent the
information which he received during his interview with Ms. Lusby.
Sheila Lepter testified that on February 14, 2004, she went to C-Town
Liquors, picked up some beer from the cooler, and saw Mary Yerkie and
Jenna Lusby, two employees that are minors, behind the cash register counter.
Mrs. Lepter testified further that Ms. Lusby transacted the entire purchase,
and stated that she did not see Helen Meeks during the period of time
of the purchase.
Jenna Lusby testified that in her opinion Mr. Stetson twisted her words
around. She continued, stating that she only scanned and bagged the product
and that she did not conduct the monetary transaction.
To Ms. Hayman's questioning, Ms. Lusby stated that she remembered a woman
who came into the store on February 14th and came up to the counter to
purchase beer. Ms. Lusby said that she waited for Helen Meeks to attend
the cash register and conduct the transaction.
Helen Meeks testified that she was working at C-Town Liquors on February
14th in the back of the store, in the cooler, came to the cash register
and completed the transaction after Ms. Lusby scanned and bagged the beer.
Mrs. Meeks indicated that she remembered observing Mrs. Lepter and her
transaction. She identified Mrs. Lepter in the Commissioners' Hearing
Room as the customer who made said purchase.
Mrs. Meeks explained that because they were the only employees working
in the store during the day of the alleged violation, she directed Ms.
Lusby and Ms. Yerkie to request her assistance to conduct the monetary
In response to Commissioner Pickrum's question, Mr. Stetson affirmed that
Helen Meeks and Sandy Krastel completed the Alcohol Awareness classes.
Mary Yerkie's testimony was similar to that of Ms. Lusby and Mrs. Meeks.
To various questions posed by the Commissioners, Mr. Stetson stated that,
upon notification of the alleged violation, he talked to no other employee
except Jenna Lusby, explaining that Ms. Lusby's account of the Lepter
purchase was the same account provided by Mrs. Lepter. He, therefore,
did not see the need to question any other employee.
Mr. Stetson testified that he asked Ms. Lusby during the interview to
identify the name of the legally certified person with whom she was working,
to which Ms. Lusby responded that she believed the person to be Mrs. Meeks.
Commissioner Livie commented on discrepancies among the accounts.
To questions posed by Ms. Hayman and Commissioner Livie, Mr. Stetson responded
that the lapse of time between the report of the alleged violation and
Mr. Stetson's interview occurred between approximately 2:00 p.m. on February
14th and 11:30 a.m. on February 15th, and that he felt assured that if
Helen Meeks was visibly present in the store, that Mrs. Lepter would have
testified of the same.
Mr. Krastel stated that he and his wife, Sandy, would not jeopardize their
alcoholic beverage license by allowing for any such incident as the alleged
violation. He further stated that he and his wife felt certain that the
alleged violation did not in fact occur.
The Commissioners recessed for deliberation at 10:15 a.m. for approximately
10 minutes, and upon their return, Commissioner Pickrum commended Mrs.
Lepter for coming forward and testifying in this matter, and stated their
finding and disposition as follows: that this violation pertained more
to an administrative and procedural violation than that of the violation
pertaining to the sale of alcoholic beverage to a minor; that there are
conflicts in testimonies and perceptions; that this violation was the
first offense of that particular violation for the licensee of C-Town
Liquors and Deli; that the Board believed the evidence given "tipped the
scale" in favor of the occurrence of the violation; and that it is the
commitment of the Board to "get the message out" to the County's businesses
that they must conduct their sale of alcoholic beverages according to
The Board of License Commissioners fined C-Town Liquors and Deli $100.00.
The hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
SUPER SODA CENTER
SUPER SODA CENTER II
An Administrative Hearing was held at 10:35 a.m. in the Commissioners'
Hearing Room. The following people were in attendance: Nilesh V. Desai,
President, Super Soda Center, Chestertown Group, LLC., licensee, Kausar
Mahmood, President, Super Soda Center II, JK Flatland, Inc., licensee,
Alpaben R. Patel, President, Suds-n-Soda, Neel, Inc., licensee, Basil
Wadkovsky, Esq., representing Mr. Mahmood and Mrs. Patel, and the following
summoned witnesses were in attendance: Sergeant Virginia Prince of the
Maryland State Police, Centreville Barrack "S", and Thomas Thelen, a MD
State Police Cadet.
Hearing no objections from the licensees that all three alleged violations
be heard at one and the same time, Ms. Hayman read the notice of the alleged
violations into the record as violations of Alcoholic Beverage Laws Article
2B, Section 12-108, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, service to a person
under the age of twenty-one, that took place on February 20, 2004 between
the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. at Super Soda Center, Super Soda
Center II, and Suds-in-Soda, all in Chestertown.
Mr. Stetson was sworn-in to give testimony and proceeded to report that
he received an incident report dated February 22, 2004, submitted by Sgt.
Virginia Prince of the Maryland State Police, Centreville Barrack, in
which Sgt. Prince indicated that she and a MD State Police Cadet, Thomas
Thelen (20 years old), visited six licensed establishments in the County
on February 20, 2004.
In her report, Sgt. Prince indicated that of the six visited, the following
three establishments sold alcoholic beverages to Cadet Thelen: Super Soda
Center, 302 Maple Avenue, Super Soda Center II, 176 Flatland Road, and
Suds-n-Soda, 1014 Washington Avenue, all in Chestertown.
In Mr. Stetson's opinion, Sgt. Prince's incident report appears to contain
sufficient information to indicate probable cause that there was a violation
of the Alcoholic Beverage Laws by the establishments cited, all Class
Mr. Stetson, responding to Ms. Hayman's questioning, stated that he has
served as Alcoholic Beverage Inspector for 18 years.
After being sworn-in by Ms. Hayman, Sgt. Prince and Cadet Thelen were
questioned by Ms. Hayman, beginning with testimony by Sgt. Prince. Sgt.
Prince stated that she was assigned to conduct underage alcohol purchases
and in turn assigned Cadet Thelen to assist, both of whom conducted their
visits in plain clothes. Sgt. Prince directed Cadet Thelen to make said
purchases and, if asked by the store clerk for an ID, to present his driver's
license as proof of his age. She explained that she photographed the Cadet
just prior to the visits, noting that his appearance was not intentionally
altered, except for the allowance of some facial hair growth and plain
The photo and all the Cadet's purchases of beer associated with the alleged
violations were submitted as an exhibits.
Sgt. Prince testified that on February 20th, at 6:55 p.m., she and the
Cadet arrived at Super Soda Center by car; Sgt. Prince remained in the
car and indicated that she was able to observe the Cadet's activity while
he was in the store. She observed the Cadet go to the cooler in the store
and, carrying one, 6-pack of 12-oz. Michelob Lite proceeded to make the
transaction for the beer. No employee asked for his ID until the Cadet
was leaving the store with his purchase. When the employee asked the Cadet
if he had an ID, the Cadet answered in the affirmative and offered to
show it; however, the employee said, "No, you look 21".
Sgt. Prince then testified that after visiting Lewes Dairy Market, at
which no violation occurred, she and the Cadet then visited Super Soda
Center II at 7:22 p.m., conducting this visit similarly to the one at
Super Soda Center. Sgt Prince reported that the Cadet proceeded to purchase
one, six-pack of Bud Lite, 7oz. bottles at Super Soda Center II and that
he was not asked by any employee to display an ID.
Sgt. Prince then stated that she and Cadet Thelen visited Suds-n-Soda
at 7:30 p.m., and she was not able to observe the activity within the
store from the car in which she waited. She testified that the Cadet purchased
one, six-pack of Miller Lite 12oz. bottles of beer and that no employee
asked the Cadet to display an ID. She and Cadet Thelen then visited Pip's
Discount Liquors and C-Town Liquors and Deli, at which no violations occurred.
When asked for any comments, Mr. Wadkovsky indicated that he had none.
Cadet Thelen was then asked by Ms. Hayman for his account of said incidents
on February 20th. He affirmed the testimony given by Sgt. Prince. Following
the above visit, Cadet Thelen then visited Suds-n-Soda, purchased a six-pack
of beer, and, as he was leaving the store, he heard one employee ask another,
"Did you check his ID?" to which the other employee said, "Oh, I didn't
even think of it. I forgot." The Cadet explained that he then left the
To questions posed by Mr. Wadkovsky, Cadet Thelen indicated that on October
28, 2004, he will be 21 years of age. The Cadet further explained that
in Super Soda Center II, there were about five people in the store, with
only one customer in line before him at the cash register; the other customers
were scattered throughout the store.
The Cadet testified that at Suds-n-Soda, there were no other customers
or employees in the store at the time of his visit. He also stated that
he completed all of his visits by 7:50 p.m., after which, he returned
to each of the establishments at which alleged violations were observed
and, except for Super Soda Center II, informed the employees who sold
beer to him that they had sold to a minor. At Super Soda Center II, he
gave the same information to an employee who was not present at the time
of his purchase.
Deborah Bromwell was sworn in to give testimony and indicated that she
has been an employee of Suds-n-Soda with its current owners since September
2003, and before that with previous owners at the same store.
Responding to Mr. Wadkovsky's questions, Ms. Bromwell stated that she
did not recall seeing Cadet Thelen enter the store at the time of the
purchase on February 20th, and indicated that, although the store was
not busy during said evening, there was a "steady stream" of customers
coming and going. She also indicated that the owners of Suds-n-Soda did
instruct her and all of their employees to ask underage customers for
proof of age. Ms. Bromwell explained that another employee, named Peter,
was attending to the cash register on February 20th.
Responding to Commissioner Livie's question, she reiterated that she did
not remember observing the Cadet's visit in the store. Cadet Thelen responded
to the question by indicating that a female employee served him and that
he did remember a male employee present who was serving the Lotto customers.
Responding to further questioning by Commissioner Livie, Ms. Bromwell
explained that it is her policy to request the ID's of the customers she
has not seen before in the store as well as those who look underage. She
stated that she did remember the visit of the Cadet when he was accompanied
by Sgt. Prince.
Mr. Mahmood was then sworn-in for giving testimony and stated that he
was working at Lewes Dairy Market on February 20th. He testified further
that he spoke by telephone with an employee at Super Soda Center II and
that he and the employee mentioned to one another their observance of
the Cadet in said stores.
Responding to questioning by Mr. Wadkovsky, Mr. Mahmood stated that it
is his policy to ID underage customers.
The Commissioners went into recess at 11:00 a.m. for approximately 20
minutes and upon their return, Commissioner Pickrum began stating the
Board's findings: that they had found the allegations proven; that the
alleged violations did in fact occur; and that the violations represent
a first offense for all three establishments.
Mr. Wadkovsky requested that the Commissioners take discretion and consider
the following in their deliberations: that the employees of said stores
were all conscientious and diligent; that an underaged person may be perceived,
despite employees' diligence, as a customer of legal-age; that he understood
the deterrent to which the Commissioners are committed, that the alcoholic
beverage businesses in the County must "tighten up" their practices; and
that the violations represent a first offense for these licensees.
Commissioner Pickrum proceeded to provide the disposition of the Board
of License Commissioners as follows: that they found Super Soda Center,
Super Soda Center II, and Suds-n-Soda responsible for the violations of
Alcoholic Beverage Laws Article 2B, Section 12-108, of the Annotated Code
of Maryland, service to a person under the age of twenty-one, and that
they would receive the maximum penalty of a $500.00 fine each and a 15
day suspension of the sale of alcoholic beverages; however 13 days of
the 15 day suspension will be waived. The days suspended will be March
26 and 27, 2004.
Commissioner Pickrum expressed the opinion of the Board that the Cadet
appeared to them, based on the photo exhibit, to be older than 21 years
of age; nevertheless, the appearance of the Cadet did not excuse the necessity
of carding customers.
Further, Commissioner Pickrum emphasized that the Board is doing everything
it can do deter underage drinking of alcoholic beverages. Commissioner
Crow concurred, adding that the Board had heard four hearings concerning
the same in just the past two weeks. He insisted that this community does
not want any violations of its alcoholic beverage laws and that, therefore,
the Board is committed to sending a clear message of the same through
The hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 11:22 a.m.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned
to meet again on Tuesday, March 30, 2004.
THE LICENSE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
Approved: William W. Pickrum, President
Please contact Ileana Lindstrom or Janice Fletcher at (410)
778-7435 or by e-mail with
any questions or comments.