EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 11, 2014

Liquor violators escape hearings

Seven business caught selling beer to minor

(Continued)

The commission voted to give Patel until July to complete a course in following rules for selling alcohol. Commissioners said the courses are typically taught by former police officers and can cost several thousand dollars.

“You failed a test twice in a week,” Commission Chairman Joseph Edwards told Patel. “If you had sold alcohol to minor who went out and crashed their car, you’d have blood on your hands and so would we.”

The other stores given warnings were: 7-Eleven, 508 River St.; Quality Brand Liquors, 185 S. Elm St.; American Grocery, 426-428 Main St.; and Bradford Convenience & Liquors, 91 S. Main St. The restaurants were The Grill Next Door, 653 Broadway and Asian Garden, 1186 Main St.

Husam Moussa said he installed a swipe machine in his 7-Eleven to check driver’s licenses, but that the worker who sold to the minor in the sting didn’t use the machine.

“I have new rules to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Moussa told the commission.

Susan Garland is manager of The Grill Next Door. She said the bartender who served the minor was having personal problems at the time. She also noted it was her restaurant’s first violation in five years.

“Her aunt just passed away,” Garland said of the worker. “She should not have come to work that night and she feels terrible about what happened.”

While the most recent violation was technically the first offense for Quality Brand Liquor’s, the commission put the store on probation in September 2013 for allegedly selling wine and vodka to an intoxicated woman. The commission delayed action on the punishment for six months, however, and eventually rescinded the suspension as a courtesy because the store had no history of license violations.

Edwards told owner Quality Brand Liquors manager Yatin Patel that he was lucky the store’s probationary period ended prior to the sting. He also told Patel that he was pleased to see a lawyer with him at last night’s meeting.

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