Kherani to pay $500 fine

Smart Serve owner Aziz Kherani has agreed to pay a $500 fine for a beer permit violation that occurred March 15.

“This is most important to me and my business that this sort of thing does not happen again,” Kherani said during Farragut Beer Board’s meeting Thursday, April 26.

Knox County Sheriff’s Office operated a beer sting March 15, at various businesses in Farragut.

“During the operation, an employee of the Smart Serve [was cited for selling alcohol to a minor,” according to a citation issued by Chief Allen “Wolfie” May, KCSO beer inspector.

“I sent an under-aged minor in Smart Serve, 800 N. Campbell Station Road, and the person bought a 6-ounce can of Bud Light,” May said.

The under-aged person was 20 years old, he added.

According to the town’s ordinance, the Beer Board has the power to revoke or suspend a business’ beer permit, or it can offer the permit holder a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 per offense as an alternative, town recorder Allison Myers said.

The penalties included suspension of a license from seven to 28 days or fined up to $2,500, Chairman Ron Pinchok said.

“I have received a copy of the citation and procedures, and at this time I do believe there has been a violation at my business,” Kherani said. “I would like to plead guilty.

“We have operated this particular business since 2011,” he said. “Since then, we have (been) investigated by KCSO about four times. I do have copies of letters written to us by (Sheriff) J.J. Jones commending us of the good job we have done in avoiding under-aged sales.

“Besides that, we also operate the Shell gas station across the street — it’s been there since 1998 — and I’m proud to say that we’ve never had this sort of stuff happen to us there in 20 years.

“However, this [violation] is clearly a clerical error on the part of our clerk, who did check the ID, but only checked the year and not the month,” Kherani said. “Regardless, the sale was made.”

The employee has been given a written warning and will be going to a Knoxville Police Department program next week for re-certification and retraining on selling beer, he added.

“Hopefully, we will make sure this sort of stuff does not happen again,” Kherani said.

“It’s been suggested that first offense is a $500 fine and/or 14 days [suspension]; second offense $1,000, 28 days; and third offense $2,500, 28 days,” Pinchok said. “We do need to consider the fine or suspension or both.”

Alderman Louise Povlin asked 5th District Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker about the county’s policy.

“Knox County Commission’s beer committee has a policy of first offense, the choice of a 30-day suspension or a $1,000 fine, and [the penalty] goes up from there,” Schoonmaker said.

Povlin said she would like the town’s policy to be in line with the county’s.

However, town attorney Tom Hale pointed out, “The accused party has the right to choose [the option].”

Kherani chose the $500 fine.

In other action, the Board approved a special occasion permit for Pinnacle at Turkey Creek to hold Sounds of Summer concert series events to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley.

The events, presented by Pinnacle at Turkey Creek and MamaJam Promotions, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., June 1, July 6 and Aug. 3 at 11251 Parkside Drive.

“This is our third year for Sounds of Summer,” Kristen Bridgers, marketing manager for Pinnacle at Turkey Creek, said. “We’ve raised almost $15,000 for our Boys and Girls Club in just two years from this event.

“This is a free concert series,” she said. “Each night, we feature two different artists featuring some of Knoxville’s best talent lineup.

“We’ll have some food trucks there, some kids’ activities and live music,” Bridgers said. “We’re creating a park-like setting in the parking lot next to Belk Men’s and Home Store, and we are inviting families to come out.

This is the first year the event is being held in Farragut, she added.

“Typically, we have these events on the Knox County side,” Bridgers added.