Owner appealing felony is told her mother should apply for new liquor license

April 28, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

The mother of the owner of a Lisbon liquor store must apply for a new liquor license within five days because her daughter is a convicted felon, the county Liquor Board ruled yesterday.

The action came during an otherwise routine license renewal hearing for Robyn Maisel, owner of Lisbon Liquors Inc. on Frederick Road.

"I have never been involved in crime," even though convicted of a felony July 10, 1992, Maisel told the County Council sitting as the Liquor Board. "I can't say I'm sorry because I can't say I'm sorry for something I didn't do."

Maisel told the board she earned a master's degree summa cum laude from the University of Maryland and worked 29 1/2 years at the National Security Agency and held one of the highest security clearances in the nation.

"The government said I was using government equipment to devise a bar code system for the store," she said, "but I was trying to develop a bar code system for the government."

Maisel told the council her attorney assured her the conviction would be overturned on appeal. "I had no idea there was a problem" getting the license renewed, she said, because the case is under appeal.

"We can't minimize this conviction," said Councilman Darrel Drown, R-2nd, the liquor board chairman.

The issue before the board, Mr. Drown said, it whether the board has any choice other than to remove Maisel as the licensee.

State law is unclear about whether conviction of a felony renders a licensee unfit to continue to hold a license, said Ruth N. Fahrmeier, the board's attorney. She said she would do some "quick research" to determine whether a felony conviction is "an absolute disqualification."

"I love the store, I like the people, and I like the area," Maisel testified. She pays the store's bills on time, she said, and the store supports various local charities.

"This individual has proven she has run an establishment very, very well . . . and has an excellent reputation," said Councilman Charles C. Feaga, R-5th. "That makes a difference. The appeal gives her an opportunity to prove her innocence. I would like to wait till the outcome of the appeal, if possible." The liquor store is in Mr. Feaga's district.

Councilman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, recommended that Maisel be removed as a licensee until her appeal is resolved. She could be returned if the appeal is successful, he said.

Maisel said her mother, May Luffy, has run the store for the past four years and is buying the corporation.

Ms. Luffy must apply for a new license within five days, the board said. The board said it will conduct a public hearing on the transfer within 60 days after receiving the application.

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