June 7, 2010

City Council votes to revoke 16th Street gas station's liquor license; AD Petroleum heads to due process hearing

A gas station with a reputation for selling liquor after 9 p.m. appears ready to change its ways.

AD Petroleum at 1917 16th St. got a stern warning from the city Monday night after a police officer organized four undercover stings catching the store in the act of breaking state law, which requires convenience to stop selling liquor at 9 p.m. 

The store has broken the law repeatedly over the years, according to a police officer who appeared before the Public Safety and Licensing Committee Monday night. The officer said a fatal car accident in the 1700 block of 16th Street was cause, at least in part, because the driver was going to AD Petroleum to buy alcohol at 11:20 p.m. 

"The suspect wouldn't have been in the neighborhood if they couldn't have purchased alcohol (at AD Petroleum)," the officer said. 

Police also said a shooting at AD Petroleum in 2008 was related to AD Petroleum selling liquor after hours. That incident drew a personal rebuke from Police Chief Kurt Wahlen. 

Attorney Franklyn Gimbel criticized the city for how it handled violations against AD Petroleum, which is owned by Kamaljit and Deepinder Dhaliwal. He said the eight violations documents by police were delivered to the Dhaliwals at one time. If they had been delivered individually, shortly after they occurred, the owners would have fixed the problem after the first offense. 

But Gimbel also conceded there was merit to the city's concerns. He said the Dhaliwals had already started covering its liquor section with a curtain at 9 p.m. to clearly show it is not available, and posted a sign telling people when liquor sales end.

Gimbel added the Dhaliwals would voluntarily turn in their liquor license if they are caught selling liquor after hours again.

"There has certainly been a wake up call for Mr. Dhaliwal about the risks of sloppy liquor sale management," Gimbel said.

The police officer who organized the undercover stings said he had personally warned Dhaliwal about selling liquor after 9 p.m. He also told the committee he had statements from neighborhood residents who are concerned about AD Petroleum, but Gimbel objected to the officer sharing the statements and committee Chairman Aron Wisneski agreed. Wisneski said he would rather have the residents state their concerns in person.

"I don't think the alderman understand the scope of the effect on the neighborhood," the officer told the committee.

The committee voted 3-0 to reach a "side agreement" with AD Petroleum to curb after-hour sales. The agreement will be drafted by City Attorney Rob Weber and Gimbel, and then return to the Public Safety and Licensing Committee for approval.

Update: The City Council voted 7-5 Tuesday night to try and take AD Petroleum's liquor license. The council voted to reject the side agreement with the gas station and head to a due process hearing, which is basically a trial with the city presenting a case to revoke the license.

WRJN's Tom Karkow has a report on the meeting. He described debate over AD Petroleum of at times being "heated."