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BUsiness owner, ABC COmmission at odds over alleged violatio

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
A recently opened downtown business has had its applications for beer and wine permits denied by the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
Vintage Porter, 106 S. Main St., had been open since March 7, sales of beer and wine at the site allowed through temporary permits.
Alcohol sales at the business were halted Friday when the owner was told that permanent ABC permits had been denied because of violations involving alcohol and illegal drugs.
The alleged violations do not constitute a criminal action and no court date is required.
Daniel Parton, the owner of Vintage Porter, said the business will remain open through the end of the week, at least, as a band is booked to perform nightly. There will be no alcohol sales, Parton said, and no alcohol consumption allowed.
He disputed many of the findings of ABC officials and said he plans to appeal.
Bill Belvins, a law enforcement officer with the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC System, said there have been many complaints against Vintage Porter.
Those violations were detailed in a report summary from the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC System. They include:
– At approximately 3 a.m. on July 15, Detective Rodney Mahaley of the Salisbury Police Department observed patrons consuming alcohol in the business though hours for beer sales ended at 2 a.m. The business had been issued a warning for a similar offense on April 28.
– Vintage Porter employee Jerry W. Pickler Jr. was cited Aug. 7 for possession of marijuana and a glass pipe used for smoking marijuana. That citation was issued during a routine inspection.
“Burning incense and a strong odor of marijuana led to the discovery of the drugs and paraphernalia in Mr. Pickler’s backpack,” the summary read. “Mr. Pickler was the sole employee present at the time and was responsible for supervising the licensed premise.”
– On Aug. 4, a N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement officer entered the Vintage Porter at 1:45 a.m. and found two individuals in the men’s bathroom involved in the preparation and consumption of cocaine.
– On July 20, patrons were observed leaving the business at 2 p.m. and standing on a city sidewalk or sitting on a city-owned bench consuming malt beverages. Vintage Porter did not have a permit for the consumption of alcohol on the sidewalk.
– According to ABC officers, shortly after getting a temporary alcohol permit, complaints began to be received regarding illegal drug use, illegal alcohol service and unsuitable behavior by customers patronizing the Vintage Porter.
Those officers said fellow business owners and neighbors complained that the Vintage Porter’s customers were intoxicated and urinating on the front of adjoining businesses. They were also involved in illegal drug use, after-hours service and consumption.
According to the summary, officers with the Salisbury Police Department, ABC Law Enforcement and N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement have all been involved in the observation and investigation of the complaints.
“Checks of the business have been made on the mornings after closing and on several occasions empty malt beverage containers and other refuse related to the business’ alcoholic beverage service were located strewn about the sidewalk and outside the front entrance to the business,” the summary reads. “Empty malt beverage bottles and drink cups/glasses were observed on several occasions left unattended on the top surface of a sandwich board bearing the business’ advertising.
“On two occasions where complaints were made by adjacent businesses or citizens about Vintage Porter patrons urinating on the fronts of adjacent businesses, reporting officers detected obvious signs that corroborated these complaints.
“In a four-day period leading up to the filing of this violation report, two felony and four misdemeanor drug arrests have been made inside the licensed establishment.”
Belvins said this marks the third time in two years that a Rowan County establishment has been denied a permanent ABC permit after getting temporary permits.
“Due to the rejection of your application, your temporary permits are revoked,” a letter from the N.C. ABC Commission read. “You are instructed to surrender these permits immediately.”
But Parton, the Vintage Porter’s owner, said much of the ABC Commission’s summary is untrue. He disputed the commission’s finding that he “knowingly allowed” the possession and use of cocaine at the Vintage Porter.
“I didn’t know people had cocaine or were using,” Parton said. “That is not true.”
He said the morning of the alleged cocaine offenses, he thought the individuals found using the drug had left the business. He said he never knew they had cocaine.
Parton also disputed the summation of the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC System that states, “Some violations were addressed only to be allowed to continue by the permittee.”
Parton said the only feedback he had concerning any violations happened in April when he received a letter stating that alcohol was being consumed at the Vintage Porter after hours.
Parton said that other than that letter, ABC officers “never talked to me” about any of the alleged violations.
Parton said he didn’t condone drug use in the Vintage Porter. “I was trying to make a business,” he said. “Drugs are not part of a business.”
Parton said he has 60 days to appeal the ABC Commission’s ruling. He said he’ll do so, though he also noted, “It seems the city doesn’t want us here. I definitely feel the people in Salisbury didn’t like our crowd.”
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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