Hard Stuff: Challenges to West Baltimore liquor licenses show closing establishments doesn’t go down easy – Maryland News

Hard Stuff: Challenges to West Baltimore liquor licenses show closing establishments doesn’t go down easy – Maryland News

Four Sandtown-area liquor licensees defended their licenses from community challenges yesterday, all winning renewal of their licenses despite petitions from members of the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association. But all were asked—and agreed—to work with community members to improve conditions in and around their establishments. 

“It’s a good thing that we have communication,” said Domingo Kim, the owner of the Stadium Lounge, who recently became President of the Korean-American Grocers & Licensed Beverage Association of Maryland and seemed to be acting as an advisor and translator to the licensees. “We have no objection to making Baltimore better.”

The Baltimore City Liquor Board found all of the protests insufficient, and it was unusual to see four license renewal protests in the same area in a single day.

“I don’t really understand what happened here today,” Liquor Board Chairman Albert J. Matricciani Jr., said after the last hearing. “We got several protests from the same small group, and they look like proforma complaints.” 

Members of the Matthew Henson Neighborhood Association did not respond to City Paper’s emails.

Becky Witt, a lawyer with the Community Law Center who helps community groups fight bad bars at the liquor board, says she visited the group at their Wednesday meeting and found that no one was prepared to testify at the board the next day. She said a woman in Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office had indicated the license challenges were part of a concerted effort, part of the mayor’s “Transformation Zones” strategy, which targets blight and crime in…

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