A Cobb convenience store has lost its beer, wine and Sunday sales licenses after an employee was caught selling alcohol to a minor.
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted on Tuesday to follow the recommendation from the License Review Board and revoke the licenses for the Roswell Road Food Mart located at 3782 Roswell Road following an almost two-and-a-half hour hearing, during which the cashier, Kazi Hossain, admitted to overriding the cash register's safety measures to make the sale without entering a birth date.
"It is my belief that the License Review Board's recommendations are warranted," said Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area where the convenience store is located.
Sgt. Amie Herd with the Cobb County Sheriff's Office said that she followed a 17-year-old volunteer who attempted to purchase a six-pack of Bud Light during the compliance check. Hossain gave the girl her change and the beer, Herd said.
"Mr. Hossain at no point asked her for her ID," the officer said.
When told he had sold alcohol to a minor, Herd said Hossain told her he normally asks for identification after giving customers their change.
"(He) was agitated and upset," Herd said.
However, the defense maintained that the sale wasn't completed because the underage customer ran out of the store without her change or the beer.
"It was on the counter," Hossain said. "She didn't take the change or the beer. I picked up the change and gave it to the undercover police."
Hossain told Sam Hensley, who represented the county, during cross examination that he didn't ask the girl for her identification because he didn't have a chance.
"She gave me the $20, and she ran away," he said.
In addition to selling alcohol to a minor, Hossain also was working without a valid permit, as his had expired three months earlier.
"That was my mistake," he told the board. "I'm sorry."
Mohammed Kamal, one of the store's managers, said that a video of the incident caught by the store's camera showed the girl leaving the store without giving her change or the beer to Herd, who was standing behind her, as the officer had testified. However, he said that the video was not copied in the 15-day time frame before it was recorded over.
"We're hearing hearsay testimony," Hensley said. "You could have brought that video to show the board. It showed your employee supposedly not selling alcohol, but you didn't preserve it."
Mohammad Majid, the store's majority stockholder, said that he saw the video of the incident the following day.
"It looked like Mr. Hossain was mindful," Majid said. "He went to the register to ring it up. He had the change in his hand. He didn't have the opportunity to complete the sale."
Majid said that the only person who knew how to preserve the video was the licensee, Mohammed Mannan, who was in Bangladesh with his family when the incident occurred. However, no one tried to reach Mannan for instructions, Majid said.
"Unfortunately, we should have done it," Majid said. "It was a big mistake for us."
Mannan said that, while he returned to Georgia the following day, it was another week before he went to the store and, by that time, the video had been taped over. However, he said he fired Hossain and conducted training with his remaining employees. He also said he now has copies of all his employees' permits posted in his office so he will know when they expire.
"It will not happen anymore," he said. "I believe I have done enough so it will stop and nobody can do it again."
Another of Mannan's stores, New Country Store at 2877 Johnson Ferry Road, was suspended for 60 days in 2003 for selling alcohol to an underage customer.
In other business, the board approved a final change order with C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc. for the Canton Road project, a savings to the county of $38,954.64.
The project, which was included in the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, consisted of intersection improvements, the addition of raised concrete medians, the addition of a "red stamped asphalt" flush median and the addtion of sidewalk.