MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved a denial of a liquor and tobacco sales license for a northside business due to ongoing complaints.
The request was for a Class E retail liquor license to be issued to Muhammad Akbar for Northside Liquor starting on December 1st. The current license holder on the business has a license that expires on April 15th of next year, but Police Chief Jeff Brinkley says he believes the business is trying to avoid sanctions from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. “I believe they are applying for the new license now to avoid the administrative sanctions that ABD will hand down to them for the most recent violations. They’re trying to get the license in a new person’s name to avoid those sanctions. We’ve seen this happen with other organizations and groups that do this that are investment groups.”
In a memo to the council prior to the meeting, Brinkley outlined numerous complaints they’ve received about the sale of tobacco, alcohol and CBD products at the business. A current pending action awaits administrative approval for a recent bootlegging investigation. Brinkley says despite the council’s denial of the new license, Akbar can appeal. “Because Mr. Akbar is not already a licensee, he would potentially have a hearing with an administrative law judge to review the city council’s decision. In my speaking with ABD officials about that, they feel like there’s a pretty sufficient case here in terms of the denial that we’re laying out, and the additional administrative action that will potentially happen between now and the time that that hearing would also take place that would help us also sustain that denial that you would issue tonight.”
Brinkley says he’d like to see that 1303 North Federal location not have a business that sells alcohol or tobacco for over a year. “I’ll tell you my goal is to eventually at 1303 North Federal get the ABD to ban a license for that location based on the number of violations that we’ve had. That ban can be anywhere from 12 to 36 months.”
Brinkley says they are keeping close tabs on other businesses that sell alcohol and tobacco in that area for violations. “We’re currently working with ABD on at least one other licensee in that area whose had a history of naughty behavior, I guess would be the term I’d use for it at this point since we’re coming up on Christmas. ABD has sanctioned one of those already for one of those violations. We continue to do compliance checks for both tobacco and alcohol and refer those cases down to ABD for adjudication administratively after they get done in criminal court. We’ll continue to do that. We want good business owners who are following the rules as we’re trying to keep our kids safe in the community as well.”
The council voted unanimously to deny the new license.