- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
St. Mary’s liquor board members fined the license holder of a Great Mills Road business $300 last Thursday upon his admission to an administrative infraction of reusing or refilling bottles of alcoholic beverage.
Garland Thompson, an inspector for the St. Mary’s Alcohol Beverage Board, went to International Beverage, Deli and Cadillac Jacks on Oct. 25 and found two funnels and six to 10 half-empty liquor bottles in a rear storage area, a lawyer for the board said at last week’s hearing. St. Mary’s sheriff’s Cpl. James Stone, the county’s alcohol enforcement coordinator, questioned license holder Paul Choporis, the lawyer said, and Choporis told the officer that the bottles were leftovers from nonprofit groups’ events, and that the returned liquor was used in the bar.
Stone found similar bottles in the bar, according to R. Christopher Beaver, the board’s attorney at Thursday’s meeting.
Shane Mattingly, Choporis’ lawyer, said that nonprofit groups would seek donations, and that Choporis would donate bottles of liquor, later charging the groups only for what they used. The returned liquor included two half-bottles of Crown Royal.
“He would combine the two and use that at his bar,” Mattingly said.
Choporis now donates whatever alcohol isn’t used by the nonprofit groups at their events, his lawyer said, and it’s up to the nonprofit groups to dispose of the extra alcohol.
Moses P. Saldaña, the liquor board’s chairman, said the regulation is geared toward a concern for a business’ customers.
The board members concurred with Vice Chairman Linda Palchinsky’s motion to fine the business $1,000, suspended to the $300 penalty on the condition that no further violations occur there during the next three years.
In a separate matter, David Dent of the county’s licensed beverage association told board members that independent alcohol outlets are concerned that legislation during this year’s General Assembly session in Annapolis could seek to repeal a 39-year-old state ban on issuing alcohol permits to chain stores.
“We’d see alcohol being sold at dollar stores,” Dent said, adding that retail chains could get volume discounts and force smaller shops to close. “They’d have a serious advantage,” he said. “There would be a lot more vacancies in the shopping centers.”