Market comes before Beverage Board Thursday

By Thomas Wilson

   Elizabethton City Council, acting in its capacity as the Elizabethton Beverage Board, will determine the license status of the Road Runner Market #141, 416 U.S. Highway 91 following Thursday night's council meeting.
   The store was cited for its fifth violation of selling beer to a minor during a sting operation conducted by the detective division of the Elizabethton Police Department in October. A show cause hearing for the Road Runner #141 had been scheduled in front of the Beverage Board for March 11 but was deferred.
   The Beverage Board issued the market's beer permit to Mountain Empire Oil Co. 3583 W. Market St., Johnson City, in December 1997. Elizabethton police have since cited the market on five occasions for selling alcoholic beverages to an underage customer working with the police department. The company also owns the Road Runner Market #116 on West G Street.
   When the show cause hearing was scheduled for March, the company had not renewed its off-premises beer permit with the city for the Road Runner #141 store. However, the city's finance department received the $100 privilege tax for the store last month.
   The first violation of Road Runner #141 was brought before the Beverage Board in December 1999 when the board imposed a $250 penalty and three-day permit suspension for the first violation. The company received a $750 civil penalty on July 20, 2000 for the second violation, and a $1,500 penalty for the third violation on Sept. 13, 2001. The fourth violation reportedly occurred in Sept. 2001 just six days after the board imposed the $1,500 penalty.
   The board had suspended the market's off-premises permit to sell beer for 180 days in December of 2001 following the market's fourth violation in two years. An attorney representing the company appealed the Beverage Board's ruling into Chancery Court. In a court hearing held in March 2002, Chancellor Richard Johnson reduced the suspension of six months to 90 days and ordered the company to pay court costs in the case.  
   Police cited three other convenience markets holding off-premises beer permits for illegal sales to a minor. Elizabethton police used an undercover operative over age 18 but under age 21 to make the beer purchases. The transactions were monitored by wireless radio transmission and recorded on audio and video surveillance by detectives. The Beverage Board is also scheduled to hear a request from Gregory Maupin for an off-premises beer permit at 101 East Elk Avenue. The business will operate under the name GLM Enterprises according to Maupin's permit application.