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Board suspends store’s alcohol license

POSTED: May 21, 2014 4:00 a.m.

The two convenience stores involved in an alleged illegal gambling operation can no longer sell beer and wine.

County commissioners voted to suspend the license held by Shell LLC at 41 Bighorn Drive on Thursday, a week after suspending the license for Silver City Express on Hwy. 9 South near the Forsyth County line.

Hearings were held after managers at both stores were arrested March 8 in connection with an alleged illegal gambling sting.

According to the county's alcohol ordinance, an alcohol license can be suspended for "a violation by the licensee of any state or federal law or regulation."

The suspensions run through Dec. 31, at which time the owners of the stores may apply for a new license.

While the violations were not contested for the Silver City store, an attorney for Ravikumar Kondaveeti, who is listed as the contact for both, challenged the alleged violation at the Shell station.

Kondaveeti, his son, Avinash Kondaveeti, and Syed Shaffiuddin were arrested in connection with the case. They each face six counts of commercial gambling.

Howard Manchel, an Atlanta-based attorney specializing in gaming law, argued the felony charges were filed in error and were more likely a lesser violation of illegal redemption, which is a misdemeanor.

"It's giving out, really, the wrong prize for somebody who won," he said during the hearing on May 8, when he asked the board for additional time before making a decision on the suspension.

On Thursday, he asked the commissioners to shorten or delay the penalty rather than immediately suspending the beer and wine license to give the owner ample time to sell the store.

"Unfortunately we were not able to consummate the sale yet. The Shell station is still being sold. The new owners don't want to take it without the beer and wine license," he said.

Planning Director David McKee said the county has received an application to transfer the beer and wine license to the new owner.

"The application is incomplete at this time. We're waiting on the survey to complete the application ... it can take up to 30 days to get the background checks back," he said.

However, the option to transfer the license is not available until the suspension runs its course since the license is for the site, rather than the owner, according to attorney Clint Bearden, who represented the county's planning staff on the matter.

 

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