Entertainment company owner charged with selling alcohol without a license

November 30, 1999|By HEATHER KEELS


State agents broke up an after-hours party at a downtown office building Saturday night and charged the owner of a local entertainment company with selling alcohol without a license.

Charles Mahdi, owner of Hagerstown-based SMU Entertainment LLC, admitted he knew he was supposed to have a liquor license but did not have one, according to charging documents filed in Washington County District Court.

Field agents of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot raided the party, held in the second-floor ballroom of the Hamilton Plaza building at 92 W. Washington St., after a monthlong investigation into the promoter, who has a history of holding unlicensed events throughout Western Maryland, the comptroller's office said in a press release.


The party was advertised on the Internet as running from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. with a $10 admission charge, according to charging documents. At about 11 p.m., Anne Arundel County Deputy Sheriff Mike Harris arrived at the party and bought a Corona beer at the rear bar, then called in an arrest team.

Authorities seized 31 containers of distilled spirits, two containers of wine, 310 containers of beer and two gallons of unlabeled alcoholic beverage from the bar area, according to charging documents. The alcohol was in plan view at the bar and drink price lists were posted, agents said.

Mahdi was charged with suffering the sales of an alcoholic beverage without a license and suffering the possession of an alcoholic beverage without a license, charges punishable by up to two years in jail or a $1,000 fine, according to the release. He was released on personal recognizance pending a court hearing, agents said.

"Illegal activity such as this hurts hard-working, law-abiding Maryland businesses that pay their fair share of taxes," Franchot said in the news release.

Mahdi also owns a nightclub at Jonathan Street and Way Avenue, according to the SMU Entertainment Web site, which says the nightclub is under construction but will open soon.

The phone number listed for SMU Entertainment was disconnected Thursday night.

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