County commssioners spent a significant portion of their last meeting of the year last week wrangling over an appeal for a beer and wine license for a Hwy. 29 South convenience store.
The original application for an alcohol license for Kwik Chek on Hwy. 29 South in Dogsboro was denied earlier in December due to misinformation and inconsistent addresses for the business owner.
The BOC ultimately stood by its original decision to deny the license, voting 3-2 to deny the appeal for Amir, Inc. (dba Kwik Chek). Commissioners Jim Escoe and Mike Youngblood voted against the denial.
The controversy stems back to the store’s previous owner, Muhammed Shafiq, who was arrested in August on two counts of fraudulent entry on a voter registration card. That same month he was charged with battery under the Family Violence Act and cruelty to children in the third degree.
In December, a new owner, Irfan Hameed, appeared before the BOC asking for a beer and wine license continuance for the store.
County commissioner Stanley Thomas reiterated many of the same comments last week that he made at that meeting, saying the paperwork for the applications were shoddy, citing wrong dates, misinformation, false information and several different addresses for Hameed, none of which the BOC was able to confirm.
Thomas said county ordinances give the BOC authority to deny a license if the applicant doesn’t appear to have a sufficient financial interest in the business or if he or she appears to be a surrogate or “fronting” for someone else.
Attorney Chris NeSmith represented Hameed during the appeal, presenting copies of bank transfers for monthly lease/purchase payments to Shafiq, as well as copies of electric bills showing a service address in Hameed’s name on Lombardy Circle in Athens.
Thomas questioned why a Bedford Drive, Hull address had been given on the applications. NeSmith replied that Hameed “simply moved. Hameed told commissioners in halting English that the Bedford Drive address was just “too close to the business.” County attorney Michael Pruett said several certified letters concerning the hearing were sent to the Lombardy Circle address, and all were returned as undeliverable. NeSmith explained that Hameed receives all his correspondence at Kwik Chek. He also pointed out that all 2013 state licenses for Kwik Chek had already been approved.