Dispute delays Sizzler liquor license

April 21, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

A dispute between the owners of the Westminster Sizzler and the Crossroads Square shopping center has delayed the liquor board's issuing a Class B beer, wine and liquor license to the restaurant.

Westminster Sizzler's owner, Walter Fitzgerald of Rockville, told the Carroll County Liquor Board yesterday that members of the Burl Partnership Inc., which owns Crossroads Square, will not sign his license application unless the restaurant chain pays an additional $10,000 a year in rent.

Richard Murray of Westminster, the resident applicant, has a 10 percent interest in the business.

Carroll County Liquor Board applications require signed consent from the owner of a restaurant's premises, said board Chairman Earle H. Brewer.

County liquor regulations define the premises as all property "the licensee leases, owns or otherwise has an interest in, including the parking lot," he said. Burl Partnership owns the land the Sizzler building stands on, and the parking lot.

"This is strictly an issue of money," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "We're in desperate straits. Our volume sales are down, and we need every opportunity to keep the 80 or 100 people there employed."

Burl Partnership already receives a percentage of the Westminster Sizzler's sales, he said.

Linda C. Carter, Mr. Fitzgerald's attorney, said signatures from Burl owners were unnecessary because the national Sizzler corporation owns the building and leases it to Westminster Sizzler.

Also, she said an internal Burl Partnership memo said Mr. Fitzgerald was using pressure tactics to obtain the signatures he needed.

"We're dealing with people that don't deal fairly," Ms. Carter told the liquor board.

The case, originally heard in July 1991, was delayed while the board waited for resolution of a court case on issuing liquor licenses to chain restaurants. Maryland law prohibits issuing liquor licenses to chain stores, and board members were unsure whether restaurants such as Sizzler could be considered such.

Maryland's Court of Appeals decided in March that chain restaurants may apply for liquor licenses.

Board members voted to continue the case next month.

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