Liquor Board Lays Down The Law To Bars That Sell To Minors

April 29, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

County liquor board members listened yesterday to explanations -- often long, sometimes plausible -- from seven bar and package goods store owners of why they or their employees had sold alcohol to minors.

The three-member board expressed frustration at the number of cases, all the result of a one-night sting operation last month in which a 20-year-old Maryland State Police cadet tried to buy beer at 15 businesses. He was successful at eight.

The board heard the eighth case last week.

"We've seen every possible scenario," board Chairman Earle H. Brewer said. "We want the message out there that we do not tolerate serving to minors."

In six cases, the cadet was not asked to show proof that he was 21, the legal drinking age. In two, he was asked for identification, but the waitresses sold him beer even though his driver's license showed that he was 20.

Board members heard about extenuating circumstances, cases of mistaken identity and busy nights in crowded bars. They heard stories of remorse and care lessness and promises from owners that their employees will ask any customer who looks under 30 for an ID.

"It can happen to anybody," Westminster attorney William B. Dulany said in defending a waitress at The Olive Leaf Cafe in Mount Airy who checked Cook's ID but said she misread his birth date.

"We were definitely wrong on this count," said Charles Joseph Ibex Jr., owner of Traders Crab Deck in Westminster. One of his barmaids served the cadet a beer without carding him, saying she thought she recognized him as a regular pool player at the bar.

Cook and liquor board administrator J. Ronald Lau visited 15 businesses on March 15 after Lau received complaints about employees serving alcohol to minors.

* Beaverbrook Inn in Mount Airy -- Owners Charles Summers and William H. Oliff were fined $500 and their liquor license was suspended for three days. The board deferred the license suspension because it was their first violation.

* Fergies in Sykesville -- Owner Howard R. Fergusonwas fined $500 and his license was suspended for three days. The suspension was deferred because it was his first violation.

* Hampstead Liquors -- Owner Patricia McDade was fined $750 and her license was suspended for three days. It was her second offense.

* Ocean Pride -- Heath was fined $750 and his license was suspended for three days. The suspension was deferred because it was his first offense.

Heath was found not guilty of violating a state liquor law that forbids license holders from showing movies that depict sexual acts.

Several customers complained about a cable movie that Heath said was mistakenly shown on bar TVs for about 10 minutes Feb. 29. The R-rated movie came on after a boxing match, and his employees did not intend to show the movie, he said.

* Olive Leaf Cafe -- Owner Lori D. Moxley was fined $750 and her license was suspended for three days.

* Paddock Wine & Spirits in Woodbine -- Owners Dennis A. and Joann M. Leutner were fined $500 and their license was suspended for three days. The board deferred the suspension and $150 of the fine because it was their first offense.

* Reunions in Westminster -- Owners were fined $750 and their license was suspended for three days.

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