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Stores lose booze license
Penalties stem from undercover sting
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County commission has disciplined license holders for two convenience stores caught selling alcoholic beverages to underage customers.

The stores, which are on opposite ends of the county, were two of six businesses cited as part of a Feb. 21 undercover operation.

The commission voted 5-0 on Thursday to suspend for six months the license of a man running the Oscarville Country Store on Browns Bridge Road.

The board also disciplined the license holder of the Chevron at McGinnis Ferry and Old Atlanta roads in south Forsyth, suspending his license for 60 days.

They have 30 days to appeal the commission’s ruling.

The Oscarville store, near Waldrip Circle in northeastern Forsyth, has been cited three times in the past two years for underage sales.

During the Feb. 21 sweep, an undercover Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy, a uniformed deputy and a person under age 21 checked 13 businesses in the area.

The license holder’s husband, Peter Chung Shin, told commissioners Thursday he was confused during the transaction, which involved an alcoholic green apple malt beverage.

“I thought it was apple juice,” Shin said. “I swear it won’t happen again in the future.”

Commissioner Patrick Bell, whose district includes the convenience store, directed the board to revoke the license, but changed his mind.

He and other commissioners had some concerns about indirectly penalizing the building’s owner, who leases the site to the Shins.

Revoking a store’s alcohol license can affect the physical location where it is sold for five years, even if the person who violated the code leaves the store.

Citing county code, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said revoking an alcohol license means that “for five years, that building cannot have alcohol sold out of it.”

The six-month suspension did not sit well with Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse, though he voted for it in the end.

“This does not make me a happy camper ... I hate to take someone who is innocent and penalize them, and I hate to let someone who is standing before this board for at least the second time not get the penalty he deserves.”

The same store was robbed March 17, when two people cut an employee on the finger and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. There have been no arrests.

The board also disciplined the license holder of the Chevron at McGinnis Ferry and Old Atlanta roads in south Forsyth. It was also part of the sheriff’s office undercover operation Feb. 21.

The man leasing the store, Seung Lee, was cited for underage sales.

It was the first time he has been cited for selling to minors, and commissioners suspended his license for 60 days in a 4-1 vote.

The store is in the district of Commissioner Brian Tam, who opposed the measure after first suggesting a 30-day suspension.

Lee told the board that he “preach[es] to employees on a daily basis ... but I can’t be there 16 hours a day.”

“I let them know every day not to do this ... we made a mistake. We’re sorry.”

Prior to their administrative hearings with the county commission, the license holders appeared in Magistrate Court, where each pleaded guilty and paid a fine.

E-mail Frank Reddy at frankreddy@forsythnews.com.