Maywood Says Suspensions, Fines Not Enough for Loosie Sellers

Thursday, November 16, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 11/17/17

Featured image: Falcon Fuel in Maywood, which has been caught selling illegal cigarettes and possessing drug paraphernalia. | Google Earth 

Some customers who may be looking to buy tobacco from Sam’s Quick Stop, 1919 St. Charles Rd. in Maywood, may be disappointed for a while.

The business recently agreed to a 9-month suspension of its tobacco license, which went into effect on Nov. 15 after the store was caught by village officials for selling loose cigarettes to someone under 21 years old, the village’s minimum tobacco-purchasing age, earlier this year.

Sam's Quick Shop

Sam’s Quick Stop in Maywood has been caught selling loose cigarettes. | Google Earth

If during that period Sam’s violates the agreement by selling tobacco, the village could permanently revoke the business’s tobacco license.

This is the second time that Sam’s has agreed to suspend its tobacco license. In January, it agreed to voluntarily suspends its tobacco license for 60 days after it was cited for illegal tobacco sales twice last year. 

And after employees of Falcon Fuel, 201 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Maywood, were caught selling loose cigarettes and possessing drug paraphernalia back in June, the store offered to pay $10,000 in lieu of its tobacco license being suspended. The village is still negotiating with the store over penalties, with a hearing to be held sometime in the coming months.

Falcon’s is no stranger to fines, suspensions and threats by the village to revoke its license. Last November, the village board voted unanimously to direct staff to begin the process of revoking the store’s license after it was cited twice earlier that year for selling small plastic baggies that are commonly used to store narcotics. In January, the business was taken over by new ownership.

During a Nov. 7 regular meeting, Trustee Ron Rivers pointed out that the village had been down this route before with other violators, namely Captain Fresh Farm, 1001 S. 9th Ave. He said that, as with Captain Fresh, he and other officials have witnessed Falcon’s old owners in the store after it switched to new owners.

After the village revoked the store’s business license last January, the village allowed a new licensee to operate the convenience store in the same building on the condition that “none of the former licensee’s corporate members, family members of corporate members, agents or employees would work at the new store,” according to a village memo.

Once the new store, called Maywood Fresh Market, was up and running, some village board officials said that they’d seen family members of the previous licensee working in the store.

“We went through this dance with Captain Fresh” said Rivers during the Nov. 7 meeting. “Everyone who has goes into that store knows that the same people are in there.”

Rivers asked whether or not the penalties that were applied to Falcon Fuel last year will carry over to the new owners in order to prevent the sidestepping of harsh penalties, such as closure, that has taken place with other businesses in the past. He said that he doesn’t believe that fines and suspensions are effectively deterring the illegal tobacco sales among stores that are repeat offenders.

Michael Jurusik, Maywood’s village attorney, said that the only way to really stop businesses from “playing games” and shuffling ownership to avoid shutting down is to outlaw the sale of tobacco in the village altogether — a step that the attorney conceded was “pretty draconian.”

David Myers, Maywood’s assistant village manager, said that he agreed with Rivers that the village’s tobacco enforcement mechanisms become “a joke” if businesses are constantly finding ways to circumvent them. 

Instead of outlawing tobacco sales across the village, Myers and other staff members recommended that the board consider outlawing the sale of tobacco at the site of those individual businesses — located within a certain distance from daycares, schools, playgrounds and similar places — that have been cited for illegal tobacco sales. 

So if the measure that Myers references were implemented before Captain Fresh had its business license revoked last year, the store would likely not have been allowed to continue tobacco sales under new ownership. 

Jurusik said that in order to implement such a measure, the board could possibly amend its code; however, he said, a code amendment may not be mandatory. The attorney said that he’ll report back to the board on the matter in the coming weeks and months. VFP

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to David Myers as assistant village attorney. This post has since been updated. VFP regrets the error. 

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5 thoughts on “Maywood Says Suspensions, Fines Not Enough for Loosie Sellers”

  1. David Myers is NOT an assistant village ATTORNEY – he’s assistant village manager. In other words, he’s Norfleet’s go-for…Go for this, go for that, go for our lunch…

  2. We sure seem to put a lot of energy into policing loose cigarette sales, this seems to be a recurring story. Always easy to pick low hanging fruit. Just imagine if we went after housing code violations and run down properties with this much energy, especially with absentee landlords!! The town might actually start looking a heck of a lot nicer, property values might go up, and people start to feel better about where they live. Who knows, they might also complain less about property taxes too! Imagine……

    1. TK, I totally agree with you. It makes you wonder if the village administration and board are all afflicted with dementia. There are a lot of places I’d like to see totally closed and run out of Maywood. Sam’s Quick Mart on St. Charles is a gathering place for some really rough characters – all they do is stand around in front of and on the side of the store and look stupid. Why can’t we rid the village totally of places like this?

  3. I agree with both comments above! Second, if further attention was used in ticketing cars for overnight parking and no village stickers, maybe we could have more money in budget to hire more officers.I know alone in my area there are at least 20-30cars parked nightly with no stickers or permission to park over nite. If this was done at least once a month it would generate enough money to go against maintenance equipment, street cleaners or a protective vest for an officer?! Who knows – it could possibly do TWO GOOD things- help the Village Budget and encourage violators to purchase legal permits and know they are being watched? It could also maybe good training for a rookie to know who is who and where bad areas are that need more attention? Just consider it?

  4. This is why residents in the village of Maywood need to attend the village board meetings that is located in the Village Hall, right above the Maywood Police Department headquarters on 5th Ave. and Oak St. (Fred Hampton Way). Have a gather of group of people and voice your concern in the “Public Comment”, and let your voice be heard!

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