The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of Seabreeze Grocery Corporation at 831 West Beech Street in Long Beach today. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan at a special meeting of the Full Board on November 17, 2022. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold on the premises.
This convenience store has been a source of numerous community complaints involving underage sales, sale of untaxed cigarettes, and has been the subject of an on-going investigation since May 2022 involving illicit drug sales from behind the counter. On November 9, 2022, the licensee sold an undercover police officer a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette. This was the third instance at the premises involving drug sales from behind the counter, according to police reports. Previously, on August 10, 2022, they sold a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette to an undercover police officer, and on May 15, 2022, an undercover police officer from the Long Beach Police Department purchased “gummies” containing THC, a controlled substance.
Further, on October 1, 2022, an SLA Investigator, along with members of the Long Beach Police Department, and the Nassau County Fire Marshal, visited the premises. The acting manager, as well as second employee, refused to allow the SLA Investigator or the police to inspect behind the counter. Both employees physically blocked the Investigator and police and told them they were not to inspect behind the counter where alcohol sales were being transacted. The two employees refusing to permit an inspection were issued criminal court summonses - the business has received prior warnings from the SLA and police regarding the consequences of failing to permit the inspection. The manager was also unable to produce books and records for an SLA alcohol inventory audit and was unable to produce the Business Certificate.
On November 10, 2022, the SLA charged Seabreeze Grocery Corporation with multiple violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, including failure to permit an inspection of the premises and failure to keep and maintain adequate and accurate records of business transacted on the premises. On November 15, 2022, the SLA charged Seabreeze Grocery Corporation with three counts of selling drugs from behind the counter. During the suspension, the SLA will prosecute these violations, the maximum penalty for which is revocation of the license.
“Due to the repeated violations of a serious nature, including the outright refusal to permit an inspection by regulatory authorities, it is our responsibility to suspend this license,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “While marijuana is now legal in New York, selling unregulated products without a license is dangerous and illegal. Consequently, this premises has become a nuisance to the community, a drain to police resources, and a threat to public health and safety.”
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to a prompt hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.