HAVERHILL — Following on the heels of a hotly contested political race, local businessman Tim Coco will be jumping into the fire once more. Mayor James Fiorentini nominated Coco to be the city's newest License Commission member. When the commission meets today at 2 p.m., Coco will have the tie breaking vote in deciding the fate of the liquor license for Bradford Shell, which was caught selling to minors six times since 2002. Fiorentini asked Coco to fill the unexpired seat of Thomas Sullivan, who recently resigned from the License Commission after he was elected to fill a vacancy on the City Council.
"It's an important board, and I think I bring a unique perspective as both a lifelong resident and a business owner," Coco said. "Obviously the utmost importance is protecting the citizens of Haverhill."
The License Commission’s two members, Gerald Sewell and Chairman Joseph Edwards are deadlocked on what action to take in regards to Bradford Shell. The city stripped the business of its liquor license in February after it was caught selling alcohol to a minor for the sixth time since 2002.
The Alcohol Beverage Control Commission in Boston rejected the decision upon an appeal by Aziz Saba, owner of Bradford Shell, and recommended the License Commission change the punishment to a 30-day suspension, with 10 days to be served and 20 days to be suspended for three years, depending on whether the business has more violations in the future.
At their meeting last week, Edwards favored returning the license and Sewell wanted to fight to uphold the revocation.
"Apparently they need a tie breaking vote," Coco said yesterday.
If the commission refuses to reverse its February ruling, Edwards said it would be up to Saba to take the city to court to enforce the state ruling.
Saba said he would do everything in his power to prevent his employees from selling to minors again if his license is returned — a promise commissioners reminded him he has made several times before.