A convenience store in Winder could face a 30-day suspension of its license to sell packaged beer and wine.
Chief of Police Dennis Dorsey asked the Winder City Council during a work session Monday to consider revoking the alcohol license for the Sunoco at 183 W. Athens St. in Winder, citing continuous problems with the convenience store.
In March, after receiving numerous complaints, the Winder Police Department conducted an undercover compliance check for alcohol sales to minors at all convenience stores within the city limits. The Sunoco store owner, Mohammed Sirajuddin Ahmed, 40, of 3432 River Heights Crossing in Marietta, was arrested following the compliance check and was charged with selling alcohol to a minor.
Following that incident, the department received information from a confidential informant June 23 that the convenience store was paying cash for winnings on gambling machines. The department again conducted an undercover operation June 26 during which an officer received cash for winnings. The incident is still under investigation but Dorsey said an arrest is expected soon.
During the council's discussion Monday, City Attorney John Stell said the charge of selling alcohol to a minor would justify the revocation of the license.
The store owner, Ahmed, told council members he visits the store once a week. He said he immediately fired the clerk who sold the alcohol to the minor and that he was out of town when the incident occurred.
When Mayor David Maynard asked if the same manager was in charge of the store during both incidents, Ahmed said different managers were in charge.
"Our own police dept has given us the recommendation and I think when they recommend something that we have to seriously consider that," Councilman Bob Dixon said during discussion. "Obviously we consider the business, too, but we don’t want to get to the point where we’re not backing up our police department.”
“You don’t want to err either way,” Maynard said.
When the city attorney asked Ahmed who the individual was who sold the alcohol to the minor, the store owner clarified that he made the sale.
“The cashier was not there, I went to help him out,” Ahmed said, adding he was referring to the incident involving the gambling machines when he said the employee had been fired immediately.
Dorsey then informed the council that the city's ordinance calls for a minimum of 30 days suspension for alcohol licenses as a result of such an incident.
Councilman Travis Singley asked City Administrator Donald Toms to look into whether the suspension should have been taken care of by city staff. The council is expected to vote on the recommendation for revocation during its regular business meeting at 6 p.m. today at the Winder Community Center.