DICKSON, TN – The Dickson Beer Board suspended the license of one local market and assessed a $1,000 civil penalty to a second business cited for making sales of alcohol to underage informants in a Dickson Police Department compliance sweep.
At its meeting Thursday, Jan. 23, the beer board, which is comprised of the members of the Dickson City Council, suspended the beer permit of Tobacco and Beer Market, 330 Henslee Drive, for 30 days effective Feb. 1. The 30-day suspension is the minimum penalty in the Dickson Municipal Code for a second or subsequent offense. Tobacco and Beer Market paid a $1,500 civil penalty following an illegal sale during a compliance sweep in 2014.
Councilman Michael Outlaw made the motion to suspend the permit for 30 days and to not offer a civil penalty as an alternative punishment. State statutes allow beer boards to assess a civil penalty up to $2,500 in lieu of a suspension.
Councilman Jason Epley suggested that the suspension be made effective Feb. 1 to allow the market to sell off some of its existing beer stock. Following a second by Councilman Dwight Haynes, the motion to suspend the license 30 days effective Feb. 1 passed 5-0 with Council members Robby Harmon, Joey Turbeville and Bird Armstrong absent.
Under the suspension, Tobacco and Beer Market will not be allowed to sell beer beginning at midnight, Saturday, Feb. 1, until midnight Monday, March 2.
The beer board assessed a $1,000 civil penalty to Dickson Mini Mart, 2417 Highway 46 S., for an illegal sale to an underage informant in the same compliance sweep. Because Dickson Mini Mart is a participant in the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Responsible Beer Vendor program, state law limits the action a beer board can take for an illegal sale to a civil penalty up to $1,000.
Epley made the motion to assess the maximum penalty allowed and following a second by Councilman Horace Perkins, the motion passed 5-0. Dickson Mini Mart has seven days to pay the penalty.
The sale in the compliance sweep Dec. 11 is the fifth offense by Dickson Mini Mart since 2014 and second as a member of the Responsible Beer Vendor program. The market served a 14-day suspension for a violation in September 2014, paid a $2,500 civil penalty for a violation in February 2017, served a 30-day suspension for a violation in May 2018 and paid a $500 civil penalty for a violation in October 2018 after joining the Responsible Beer Vendor program.
Responsible Beer Vendor certification is voluntary for off-premise beer retailers. A Responsible Beer Vendor found to have made two illegal sales within a 12-month period faces revocation of its certification by the TABC.
The clerks cited for making the illegal sales made their first appearances in Dickson County General Sessions Court on Jan. 21. According to court records, the citation against Wahba Fawzy Wahba, 39, of Nashville was reset for April 23 and the citation against William Cody Ryan, 34, of Bon Aqua was reset for March 12.
According to the incident report, Ryan sold alcohol to an underage informant without checking her identification at Dickson Mini Mart. The report says Wahba looked at the underage
informant’s vertical driver’s license marked “under 21” and sold an alcoholic beverage to him at Tobacco and Beer Market.
In 2018, the Tennessee Department of Safety began issuing vertical driver’s licenses to all drivers under the age of 21 to help police and retail establishments more easily identify underage residents.
Dickson Police Department Chief Jeff Lewis said investigators sent underage informants into 10 businesses that sell beer on Dec. 11 and the other eight licensees did not make sales. Lewis said the department will continue to conduct compliance sweeps targeting about 10 businesses at a time. There are more than 65 beer permits issued by the City of Dickson.
The compliance sweeps are funded by the Drug Free Dickson Coalition as part of its mission to combat underage drinking.