Decker's in Bel Air won't be selling beer, wine or liquor for at least the next seven months.
As a penalty for improper record-keeping and purchasing liquor from someone other than a licensed wholesaler, members of the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday suspended the license for the liquor store for 30 days.
That was followed by the board revoking the license for making a false application for a liquor license renewal.
The licensees of the store, Joseph Borromeo, a 75 percent owner, and Virgil Dale Davis, a 25 percent owner, can never apply for a liquor license in Harford County again. Nor can anyone apply to take over the license for six months after the revocation goes into effect, which will be after the 30-day suspension is served, according to Liquor Board Administrator Kathryn Thess.
Board members had no comment other than to vote on the penalties.
Borromeo and Davis were found to have violated three county liquor laws: not keeping complete and accurate records, purchasing alcohol from someone other than a licensed wholesaler and making a false statement to the liquor control board on a license renewal.
The store is tied to a sweeping corruption investigation that involves charges against former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, as well as Ravinder Kaur Melhi, of Clarksville, and her husband, Amrik Singh Melhi.
They and several others are facing several extortion charges.
Ravinder Melhi gave Borromeo $550,000 to finance the store in 2005, when it was bought from the Decker family, according to previous information presented to the liquor board.
As part of the corruption investigation, federal agents searched Decker's Liquors last November, prompting Harford liquor inspectors to examine the contents seized.
They found dozens of bottles of liquor that Decker's had not purchased from a licensed wholesaler. Many of the same bottles had been previously sold by wholesalers to Tick Tock Liquors in Takoma Park, owned by Ravinder Melhi.
Though liquor license revocations are rare in Harford County, the board under the leadership of Chairman Donald Hess has shown little patience with licensees who don't submit accurate information on license documents.
Other license actions
Also at Wednesday's board meeting, Rajendra H. Patel was added to the license at the 7-Eleven at 504 Edgewood Road in Edgewood. She will be the resident licensee.
Rita Patel was added as a co-resident licensee for the 7-Eleven at 602 South Philadelphia Boulevard in Aberdeen. Also on the license is Hirabhai M. Patel.
New officers were approved for Winters Run Inn at 1907 Philadelphia Road in Joppa. Steven Melocik will be a 90 percent owner and Michelle Whitt will be a 10 percent shareholder and the resident licensee.
The board approved a request from Ken Beyer to upgrade the license at Chiapparelli's at 400 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace to sell beer, wine and liquor off-premises.
Beyer told board members at the meeting he has no intention of turning the restaurant into a liquor store, especially since there's no room to put one, but he'd like to be able to sell bottles of wine to customers to take home with them.
Outside serve requests were approved for a family reunion June 3 and a wedding June 4 at the American Legion Post 47 in Havre de Grace.
Owners of Bel Air Liquors wrote they hope to settle soon on a property near Preston's Stationery across from Looney's to build their new store. They have been approved for one loan and are considering another option in building a new modular-style building. The drive-through BBT bank branch in the parking lot by Preston's will be torn down to make room for the store.
One-day beer and wine licenses were approved for Ladew Topiary Gardens Inc. June 12, 19 and 26 and Ducks Unlimited Inc. for a wine tasting at Jerusalem Mill June 25.