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Liquor store owner loses second appeal to have license reinstated

Decision says Ngek Chum failed to show Washington County liquor officials acted in an 'arbitrary and capricious' way

June 29, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown liquor store owner who was forced to close last year after two former employees were charged with using the business to sell drugs has lost a second appeal to have his liquor license reinstated.

The decision filed June 17 by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals stated that Ngek Chum, owner of Universal Liquors at 33 E. Franklin St., failed to prove that Washington County liquor officials acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" way when they revoked his license on Feb. 4, 2009.

Chum, whose address is listed in court records as 8225 Amity Circle in Gaithersburg, Md., did not return a telephone call Tuesday seeking comment.

Chum's appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals was the second that he filed to contest the matter. He also filed and lost an appeal in Washington County Circuit Court in June 2009.

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The Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, revoked Chum's license after determining that he violated state code "by disrupting the peace, safety and quiet of the neighborhood ... by allowing the sale of a controlled dangerous substance(s) to occur on the licensed premises."

An investigation by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force produced evidence that showed marijuana was sold at the business on July 3, 2008, and that cocaine was sold at the business on Dec. 4 and 11, 2008.

The Task Force said Shelton Jamaal Parker, 24, of 222 Summit Ave., Apt. B, Hagerstown, and Eligio Jesus Vera Duarte, 26, of 9 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown, were the employees who were involved with the illegal drug activity.

Parker was charged with two counts each of distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced in Washington County Circuit Court on June 11, 2009, to serve four years in prison, according to court records.

Duarte was charged with one count each of distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced in Washington County Circuit Court on June 11, 2009, to serve three years of probation, court records show.

Robert L. Everhart, liquor board chairman, said Tuesday that David Verzi, owner of the building that housed Universal Liquors, is scheduled for a hearing July 14 to renew the liquor license.

Everhart said none of the people who were involved with the drug arrests will be included in the discussions.

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