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VOL. 124 | NO. 208 | Thursday, October 22, 2009

C’ville Beer Board Doles Out Double Whammy

By PIERCE MARTIN | Special to The Daily News

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The Collierville Beer Board unanimously voted Tuesday to suspend the beer permit of the Collierville Gas and Food Mart at 651 W. Poplar Ave. at its monthly meeting.

The decision came after what town attorney Mark McDaniel called “a case of first impressions.”

“In my 17 years working out here, I’ve never had a case like this. Most of the violations we see are committed by employees – not owners,” he said.

The owner of Collierville Gas and Food Mart, Walid Kheribi, was charged with not just one, but two violations of city ordinance. Kheribi was observed selling alcohol to a minor during a routine sting operation by Collierville Police Department officers earlier this year, but at the time of the sale he was also not licensed to sell alcohol.

Though he had obtained the proper permit for his business, Kheribi failed to receive the necessary training to be able to sell alcohol as an individual.

Kheribi pleaded guilty to both charges, while maintaining his ignorance over Collierville’s requirements for selling alcohol.

In his statement before the board, Kheribi claimed to have known the establishment required a permit, but did not realize he also needed a certification in order to sell alcohol. He went on to explain that the day the violations occurred, he was not supposed to be at the store but was filling in for an employee who was certified to sell alcohol.

The Beer Board gave Collierville Gas and Food Mart a 90-day suspension on the establishment’s beer permit and also stipulated that within the 90-day period Kheribi must attend a Responsible Vendor’s Training course certified by the state of Tennessee.

This is a more stringent decision than the board normally hands down for first-time offenders, McDaniel said.

“Normally with first-time offenders, the board will decide on some type of fine for the establishment, but this case is obviously different,” he said.

Board member Greg Cotton referred to Kheribi’s inaction in the time span between the citation and the hearing.

“What sticks with me,” he said, “is that he had plenty of time to come into compliance with city code and made no effort.”

Kheribi was notified of both violations at the time they occurred; however, he testified at the meeting the store continued selling beer up until the time of the hearing.

If Kheribi fails to meet the requirements stipulated by the board within 90 days, the establishment’s beer permit will be automatically revoked, resulting in the inability for the business to sell beer until another beer permit is obtained for it, which could take several months.

PROPERTY SALES 61 262 16,169
MORTGAGES 28 132 10,054
BUILDING PERMITS 88 424 38,360
BANKRUPTCIES 36 92 7,564