EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

January 7, 2013

Store accused of selling alcohol to minors sells license

Bradford Shell sells liquor license after facing 6 violations

(Continued)

“I give credit to Attorney Xenakis as he pointed out there were very few package stores in that area of the city,” Coco said. “He also noted there were no churches or schools in that immediate area and showed us photos of the inside of the store. It was a very complete application.”

Coco said that according to the agreement that was part of the application, the license was sold for $30,000 to Saminder Inc., which does business as QwikMart, and is owned by Inderpal S. Gill.

“QwikMart seems like a responsible business and the owner was very prepared with a very complete application that answered all questions,” Coco said.

Last February, the commission revoked the license of Saba Foodmart Inc., which operated under the name Bradford Shell, after a store clerk was caught several months prior in a police sting selling alcohol to a minor for the sixth time since 2002. But the owner, Aziz Saba, appealed to the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, which rejected the city’s decision.

Instead, state alcohol officials recommended the city change Bradford Shell’s punishment to a 20-day suspension, with 10 days to be served and 10 days to be suspended for three years.

At a special meeting last September, the city’s License Commission voted 3-0 to restore Bradford Shell’s license to sell beer and wine.

At that hearing, City Solicitor William Cox told commissioners they could not permanently revoke a business license if the action is rejected by the state. Cox recommended Bradford’s Shell’s punishment be changed from revocation to 221-day suspension — the number of days between when the commission revoked the license in February and when it was returned at the September hearing.

If the case went to court, Cox said the city would not only be on the hook for legal fees, but also would face the possibility of losing a judgement for lost sales and other financial damages to the business. In the September 2011 sting, a Bradford Shell store clerk sold a six-pack of Bud Light to an underage volunteer working with police, investigators said. The establishment was one of 25 licensed businesses — out of the city’s roughly 100 bars, restaurants and package stores — caught selling alcohol to minors in the citywide sting, but the only business to have its license permanently revoked due its history of similar violations.

Police have said the establishment had a reputation for being an “easy” place for teens to buy alcohol.

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