After spending about an hour and a half listening to testimony and arguments on Tuesday morning, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted to uphold the decisions by the county's License Review Board in two matters.
The board voted unanimously to maintain a 30-day suspension levied on the Texaco Food Mart on Cobb Parkway after employee Sujit Kumar PoonMagar sold alcohol to a minor during a compliance check on Sept. 13.
Detective Rusty Creamer of the Cobb County Police Department said the minor who purchased the six-pack of beer told PoonMagar she was born on Aug. 20, 1994, her actual birthdate.
"He never asked to see an ID," Creamer said. "He never checked an ID. He just asked her birthdate."
Although the store's owner, Sultan Ali Khimani, said PoonMagar was fired, county officials said his name was listed as a sales clerk on an application for a new store on Powers Ferry Road.
"I don't know how," Khimani said. "We never hired him again."
Officials also told the board that Khimani was dishonest on his new application when he stated that he had never been cited before. Khimani told the BOC that, while his nephew and manager, Shiraz Saleem, had filled out the application for the Powers Ferry Road store, he had certified everything has being correct.
"I read it, and I signed it," Khimani said.
Commissioner Helen Goreham, who represents the district in which the Texaco Food Mart is located, said that, while it's admirable that Khimani wants to grow his business, it's disconcerting that Khimani's new application contained incorrect information and that Saleem, who doesn't have a current alcohol work permit as required of managers, admitted to not reading the county's ordinances.
"I think what we saw is a definite disconnect," Goreham said. "Policies, procedures and ordinances all play a part in an appropriate business atmosphere."
Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the Powers Ferry Road area, said that it's not only troubling that Saleem hasn't read the county's code but also that Khimani is never present at his stores.
"Your name is on everything and, by your testimony, you don't go to the stores," Ott said. "I find this very troubling. I'm not interested in having a business owner who's not present and a manager who's not certified."
The BOC also voted to upload the License Review Board's decision not to grant a license to Woodstock Cab Company. The original denial was based on several violations, including carrying unpaid passengers, charging a flat rate fee for some services and not having insurance for a six-month term. During a site visit, Bonnie Smith with the Cobb County Police Department noted the doors to the office were locked, owner Christopher Brown's brother was working on a personal vehicle on the property, a dispatcher wasn't present as required by the county's code, the cars were dirty and Brown was wearing soiled clothes, another county code violation.
"In general, he had a very unkept appearance," Smith said.
Brown told the BOC that he does have insurance and will start paying it in advance.
"I didn't realize that paying every 30 days isn't a six-month policy because it's written up as one," Brown said.
Brown said he was under the assumption that he couldn't occupy his office unitl he had a license and that he did try to peel the flat rate stickers off of his vehicles.
"I'm willing to do everything I need to do," he said.
In the one instance in which a non-paying passenger rode in one of his cabs, Brown said the passenger was his brother who was training to be driver but later decided it wasn't something he wanted to do.
"It's not for everyone," Brown said.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell made a motion to uphold the License Review Board's denial based on the numerous violations.
"I'm all for supporting small business, but it has to be done properly and in the right manner," she said.
In other business, the BOC approved everything on its agenda with the exception of an item that would increase the Cobb County Water System's rate by 6 percent for 2013. That item was taken off the agenda for further study.