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Four Calvert businesses fined, suspended for sales to minors


Prince Frederick, MD - When Calvert County Sheriff’s Office deputies recently tested local liquor vendors for compliance with the law, five of the businesses were deemed in violation. Four of the businesses came before the Board of License Commissioners (Liquor Board) of Calvert County Thursday, Dec. 6 to explain what went wrong and accept the board’s punitive measures. In each case, the violation was the sale of alcohol to a minor.

Nick Ferrante of Nick’s of Calvert said he and other family members who operate the Prince Frederick store were “Embarrassed and angry. We take great pride in our business. We are willing to learn and adapt.”

Ferrante, who was represented by his attorney/cousin—also named Nick Ferrante—stated that the store’s cashiers are aware of the company’s adamancy toward avoid sales of alcohol to minors. Nick’s employees are given courses of instruction, required to receive certification in Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPs)/Techniques in Alcohol Management (TAMs).

Ferrante that a female employee made the illegal sale Nov. 1. “She was terminated on the spot,” said Ferrante, who stated the sacked employee’s indiscretion occurred after she received certification. Liquor Board Member Jack Smack asked Ferrante what the employee’s excuse was. “She says she had a lapse,” said Ferrante. The termination took place in front of deputies.

“The law is the law,” said Board Chairman Robert Arscott, who recommended a $200 fine and a one-day license suspension. Although the fine must be paid, the board decided to hold the suspension in abeyance for one year. If Nick’s has no liquor law violations during that time the suspension will be rescinded. Arscott admitted he was impressed by the voluminous report store owners presented regarding the incident and the measures that have been taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

Good Day Market in Prince Frederick received a $200 fine and a two-day suspension to be held in abeyance for one year. Store owners, represented by attorney Larry Cumberland, told the board the employee who made the illegal sale was possibly overwhelmed by heavier-than-normal lottery sales at the time. “I know you didn’t want this to happen,” said Arscott, who noted the market was cited for a TIPs/TAMs violation in 2015.

Lusby Exxon received a one-day suspension, to be held in abeyance for one year, plus a $200 fine. Owner John Greenwell stated the business has never had a liquor law violation and assured the board steps are being taken to prevent a recurrence. His attorney, V. Charles Donnelly, said the violation was the result of “human error. The training of personnel is constant. There’s a great deal of remorse by the Greenwells.”

Due to previous violations, Ken Mar Liquors of Prince Frederick must complete its one-day suspension. The store will not be serving alcohol Monday, Dec. 10. The license-holder must also pay a $300 fine. Arscott noted Ken Mar’s previous violations included one during the summer of 2017 that resulted in a $1,000 fine. “If you come in again I can promise you a much stiffer fine,” said Arscott. Store managers stated the failure by the clerk to utilize an identification scanner is what led to the unlawful sale.

A fifth business—Sunderland Wine and Spirits—opted to wait until January to have their case heard. They and the other four businesses were given that option since the board did not have a quorum at 7 p.m. when the meeting was scheduled to convene.

Liquor Board Attorney David Weigel advised the vendors in the audience at the Dec. 6 meeting that in 2019, when license renewals are reviewed, “we are going to look at the license holders’ conduct over the year.” In addition to oversight by the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, the board has had, since the summer of 2017, a fulltime inspector in the field. Michael Stevens is a retired Maryland State Police trooper.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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