The decision was not exactly split down the middle Tuesday, when one abstention tied the votes leaving storeowner Rasheed Virani without the ability to sell alcohol at his establishment, for now.
The Raceway/SNR gas station had its alcohol license revoked by the board in November following a drug bust where methamphetamine was “being sold across the counter like candy,” according to November testimony before the board by Detective J.D. Kirby, lead detective of the investigation and raid of the establishment.
Owner of the gas station Rasheed Virani appeared before the board Tuesday before the final vote to plead his case, stating he had seen a decline of more than 50 percent of his business due to the loss of his license to sell alcohol.
“I just want to request to the board it was not my fault, I didn’t do anything wrong, it was beyond my control,” said Virani in an address to the board. “In the last five months I have been personally coming every five weeks and in the future also, my managers will come, they will visit, they will see. It happened in my place, but not me, I haven’t done anything wrong so I should not be penalized for that,” he added.
Virani continued on to explain he put his trust in the wrong person stating “my passion is to work, do the jobs, provide the jobs, that is my name. This is a good lesson. I was thinking that everybody is good like me but they are not,” he explained.
Commissioners Chad Steward and Jeff Gazaway voted in favor of the license request.
“I try to be fair and just with every decision that I make as commissioner but I am also a very forgiving person and I felt he had been punished long enough,” said Steward. “The only mistake I believe he made was being a bad manger and bad judge of character because he was trusting someone to run his business for him, he wasn’t in there selling drugs, he just made a bad judge of character.”
Commissioner Jeff Gazaway also commented on his vote in favor for the alcohol license.
“The words he spoke seeemed sincere, I felt like he realizes the mistake he made, I think he’s going to make it right,” said Gazaway. “I voted what was on my heart, I believed him when he said it wouldn’t happen anymore.”
Commissioner Kevin Cunningham voted against the alcohol license.
“He didn’t want to take responsibility for what had happened, he is the business owner and he was responsible. I didn’t feel he would be a responsible license owner,” said Cunningham.
Commissioner Norris Sexton was the only vote that abstained to “keep from stirring up greater controversy.”
“My family has been almost destroyed twice, economically and relationships wise, but that’s the reason I am so hard against any kind of alcohol. I’ve experienced twice what alcohol can do,” said Sexton. “Instead of being accused one way or the other, I just figured I’d abstain.”
In other business Tuesday, the board: