Store’s alcohol license stripped; Food Mart cited for selling beer to minor
by Jon Gillooly
November 14, 2012 12:33 AM | 6013 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Board of Commissioners suspended a business’ alcohol license for selling beer to a minor and denied an application for a taxi business on Tuesday.

After a plainclothes Cobb Police officer saw an employee of the Texaco Food Mart located at the corner of Cobb Parkway and Jim Owens Road west of Kennesaw selling a six-pack of beer to a minor on Sept. 13, the county’s License Review Board recommended a 30-day suspension of owner Sultan Ali Khimani’s beer, wine and Sunday sales package licenses.

Khimani told commissioners that he was rarely at the convenience store and relied on his nephew, Shiraz Saleem, to oversee operations. The nephew told commissioners he had not read the county’s code detailing alcohol sales procedures and admitted that he didn’t hold a required alcohol work permit.

Khimani said the employee who sold the beer to the minor has been fired.

Yet county staff pointed out that following the underage sale at his Kennesaw store, Khimani had applied for an alcohol license for another Texaco Food Mart located at 2145 Powers Ferry Road in Marietta. And that application, which is pending, lists the same employee who made the underage sale at the Kennesaw store.

In addition, Khimani failed to reveal that his Kennesaw store was the subject of an investigation when filling out the application for the Powers Ferry Road store.

Khimani’s attorney, Mark Gaffney of Stone Mountain, requested the suspension be limited to 14 days and proposed that all Khimani’s employees in Cobb would complete an alcohol sales and service training course.

“They have major clerical issues,” Gaffney said, explaining that it was a typing error that listed the fired employee as a new employee at the Powers Ferry Road Texaco.

“A 30-day suspension is going to cost them a lot of money,” Gaffney said.

Commissioners were unmoved.

“What we saw during the course of this case is a definite disconnect between the ownership, management and the implementation of the rules of conducting this business here in Cobb County,” Northwest Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham said. “Policies, procedures, ordinances all play a part in appropriate business atmosphere and play a part in keeping our citizens safe.”

Commissioners upheld the 30-day suspension in a 5-0 vote. In addition, they added on that the suspension would remain in place until all code violations at the site were corrected.

Khimani’s employees are also required to complete an alcohol sales and service training course.

As for the taxi business, Christopher Brown runs Woodstock Cab Company out of his Cherokee County home. He has a license to operate in Cherokee County and in Kennesaw. He applied to operate in unincorporated Cobb out of 825 Jamerson Road, near the Cherokee County line, but after a county inspection, the License Review Board recommended that request be denied.

To hold the license, Brown is required to have paid his insurance six months in advance, but he pays monthly. The ordinance also prohibits nonpaying passengers from riding in taxi cabs while transporting a paying passenger, which the county found Brown had violated. Brown was also found to be in violation of the ordinance prohibiting taxi businesses from charging flat fees or flat rates.

Additionally, Sgt. B.D. Smith with the county’s permits unit said one of Brown’s vehicles was filled with trash and that Brown fell short of the county’s hygiene rules.

“Mr. Christopher Brown was wearing a soiled short sleeve T-shirt and shorts and in general looked extremely unkempt,” Smith wrote in her report.

During the hearing, Brown admitted that in 1998 he had been convicted of fornication and aggravated battery. The law against fornication has since been repealed.

“I’m willing to do everything I need to do to get this taken care of,” he said.

Commissioners denied the application in a 5-0 vote, which means he must wait 12 months before reapplying.

“I’m all for supporting small businesses, but they have to be done properly and in the right manner, and I think we have evidence here that there are too many violations against the code and things that need to be improved,” Northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said.

In other business, commissioners hired William Tommie Jr. as the county’s new purchasing director, replacing Mark Kohntopp, who retired in July. Tommie, formerly the director of construction procurement for the Pickens County School District in South Carolina, will receive a salary of $87,500.

They promoted Al Curtis, the county’s interim fleet manager, to the position permanently, raising his salary from $69,138 to $73,875.

Commissioners also hired a security officer for the Water System’s Customer Service building. Goreham said there’s been a problem at the office at times when people who have had their water cut off for nonpayment show up agitated, causing the employees to feel threatened.

The $63,742 position will be filled by hiring four part-time officers.
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Cathy Finck
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November 16, 2012
This incident is a reminder that we must have responsible business owners to help limit youth access to alcohol. Because alcohol causes more harm for our youth than all illegal drugs combined, our government regulations for "privileged licenses" should be enforced to keep the public safe. The Board of Commissioners should be commended for how they handled this situation. By taking action for the good of Cobb County, they are helping to protect our youth. For more information on how to restrict youth access to alcohol, visit Cobb Alcohol Taskforce at cobbat.org.
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