You’d think, as one wag at Borough Hall puts it, that anybody who works at Best Liquors “would be carding his own grandmother” these days, with the store’s license revocation up on appeal before the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division.
But just two weeks after the Borough Council unanimously voted to yank its license, Best is in trouble anew for exactly the kind of alleged practices that have landed it in its present legal jeopardy.
On Tuesday night, Red Bank police arrested a 19-year-old borough man “as he had just purchased alcohol” at the Leighton Avenue establishment, according to a statement issued by Capt. Stephen McCarthy. Police also cited store employee Balvinder Singh for making the sale. Both men are due in municipal court July 19.
The episode has prompted borough officials to move for an immediate end to liquor sales at the store.
“Simply put, this licensee cannot be trusted to run its business in accordance with the law,” borough attorney Tom Hall said in legal papers filed with the ABC yesterday.
Best Liquors, owned by Sunny Sharma of Middletown, had been permitted to continue selling liquor post-revocation. Stays are often granted by the ABC in such cases, enabling defendant stores to continue to operate until their cases are resolved, a process that can often take more than a year. At the time, the borough didn’t challenge the request for the stay.
Since the latest arrest, though, the borough has moved to have the ABC dissolve the stay. The aim: to shut down alcohol sales during the pendency of the appeal.
“The licensee’s continued operation clearly constitutes a ‘danger which is an immediate threat to the public health, safety or welfare and contrary to the interest of the community,'” Hall wrote in legal papers filed with ABC director Jerry Fischer. Download 71207_letter_brief_dissolution_of_stay.pdf
“After having been served with significant charges and having its license revoked by the governing body, all in a highly publicized atmosphere, any reasonable person would naturally attempt to ‘lay low’ for a while to avoid further trouble,” Hall wrote in the filing. “This licensee did anything but ‘lay low,’ or take additional precautions. Instead, it kept right on selling alchohol to minors.”
He calls Best “utterly unfit and unworthy” of the responsibility of holding a liquor license.
The council has also scheduled a hearing for July 26 at 5:30p to consider new administrative charges against the store. In effect, the hearing is to be a trial much like the one just concluded, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.
He declined substantive comment, saying the council cannot prejudge the matter,
Sharma was unavailable for comment when redbankgreen called the store this afternoon, and Singh, who answered the phone, declined comment. The store’s attorney, Samuel ‘Skip’ Reale, also declined comment.