An employee of Hometown Liquor Express appeared in court before Judge Allen B. Roberts for a pretrial conference on Monday (June 14, 2021) answering to allegations of selling alcoholic beverages to a minor. Samirkumar J. Patel entered a plea of “not guilty” at an arraignment before Judge Allen B. Roberts on May 03, 2021. Hometown Liquor Express holds one of two licenses to sell liquor within the City of McKee.
At the pretrial conference a motion for discovery and inspection was made to the court and the order approving it was signed. A subsequent pretrial conference was scheduled for August 23, 2021.
According to representatives of the City of McKee, Chief Jonathon Sizemore of the McKee Police Department received a tip on April 10, 2021 concerning the sale of alcohol to an underaged person occurring at Hometown Liquor Express. Chief Sizemore was able to ascertain the identity of the individual who made the purchase and confronted them the next day.
Upon confronting the individual, they admitted to purchasing the alcohol while underage, and gave a sworn statement concerning the incident. After consulting with City Attorney Jan Williamson, and County Attorney Ross Murray on how each wanted to proceed, Chief Sizemore served a notice of violation to Hometown Liquor Express.
If the allegation is true the act of selling to an underage minor would not only be a violation of City Ordinance 05-2019 it would also violate state law (KRS 244.080). In accordance with these two statutory authorities the incident will be dealt with by two regulatory authorities: City of McKee (Alcohol Beverage Control or “ABC” Administrator and the District Court in McKee, KY. City Ordinance 05-2019 states:
“In addition to any criminal prosecution instituted in Jackson County District Court against an alleged violator, the City ABC Administrator may assess civil fines in lieu of suspension as authorized in KRS 243.480, including the per diem assessments for ongoing violations. Payment of all fines shall be remitted to the City ABC Administrator, who shall then transmit the fines to the City Clerk for deposit in the appropriate designated account.”
The City ordinance continues: “Any person, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this chapter, for which no other penalty is hereby provided, shall be guilty of a Misdemeanor, and subject to prosecution in the Jackson County Court System, as follows: for the first offense, be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than two hundred dollars ($200.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.” The ordinance also gives the City ABC the authority to revoke the license if deemed necessary and appropriate.
The Notice of Violation served to Hometown Liquor Express levied a fine against the store, as well as requiring mandatory STAR training for all employees. (Note: Server Training in Alcohol Regulations (STAR) is a responsible beverage server training course developed and implemented by the Alcoholic Beverage Control in Frankfort, KY)
In addition to the City - Notice of Violation, Chief Sizemore served a criminal summons on the employee who conducted the transaction with the underage individual, and that will be processed through District Court.
The criminal summons served to Mr. Patel states that on April 10, 2021, Samikumar Patel unlawfully sold alcoholic beverages to a minor under the age of 21 years old without requesting proof of age, when he was a retail licensee’s agent, servant or employee. This action would be in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute 244.080. The penalties for violating this statute are found in KRS 244.990 and for a first offense the alleged violation would be considered a Class B misdemeanor.