Store Loses Liquor License After Being Exposed Selling To Minors

9:24 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Fifteen months after WUSA9 first exposed Town Square Market in Northwest Washington for selling alcohol to minors, DC's alcohol control board has reversed course and voted to yank the store's liquor license.

Last November, DC's alcohol control board voted to renew Town Square Market's liquor license. But in an unprecedented reversal, the ABRA board reconsidered and denied his license renewal.

No one was happier than the local mother who first brought this store to our attention.

"You got him! Finally! This guy is finally going to pay a price!," was the local mother's reaction to the ABRA Board's decision to DENY Town Square Market its liquor license renewal. "I have personal loathing for this man, because he has no ethics, he has no principles, he sold his soul to make a little bit more money."

She says her teenager was among the underage buyers who purchased booze here every week.

"This guy was an open bar with no barrier to entry. And that's dangerous and I'm surprised he isn't an accessory to murder yet," she said.

The ABRA Board's reversal was not unanimous. 

Board chair Ruthanne Miller and members Donald Brooks and Mike Silverstein voted to DENY the license renewal. Board members Herman Jones and Nick Alberti dissented. In fact, a perplexed Alberti wrote "The Board routinely renews licenses of applicants who have been found guilty of repeated sale to minor violations."

Store owner Richard Kim was convicted in DC of selling to a minor, and Montgomery County Police issued citations to dozens of teenagers who bought booze at Town Square and then crossed the border into Maryland.

"I was very, very pleased. Victory has many fathers. I felt like a father when I read that opinion," said attorney Stu Ross, the ANC Chair who asked the Board to reconsider its renewal of Town Square Market's liquor license. 

Neighbors who live near the MacArthur Boulevard store didn't want its license renewed. Ross fought on their behalf and was grateful for the board's reversal.

"None of us get it right all the time, and so that was a big deal for me," he said.

But the mother whose child ended up in rehab wants something more.

"I would actually like to see this guy apologize for what he's done. There's so much proof that he sold to underage minors for years and years, without asking for identification. This is the most open secret in town. Why doesn't he just make himself feel a little bit better by saying I'm sorry?," she said.

Tonight, there's still alcohol for sale on the shelves of Town Square Market. That's because store owner Richard Kim now has 10 days to ask the ABRA Board to reconsider its decision AGAIN. 

He can also take his case directly to the DC Court of Appeals. 


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