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3 fined for compliance failures; 1 still waits

Three Rosemount businesses received penalties Tuesday for selling alcohol to an underage individual during police-run compliance checks Dec. 15. Another is still waiting to learn its fate.

American Legion Post 65, Carbone's Pizzeria and MGM Liquor each received a $500 civil penalty for the violation.

The violations were the first for each business. All three penalties were approved as part of the consent agenda at Tuesday's Rosemount City Council meeting.

Rosemount Liquor and Wine Cellar also failed the Dec. 15 check. It was the fourth time in 54 months the store has failed a compliance check and the second time in two years.

Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said the city does not have guidelines that establish penalties in this situation.

"We haven't had a violation that's similar," Kalstabakken said this week. "Some cities have a matrix where they look back a specific time period (for other violations). We do not have a matrix. This is breaking new ground for us."

When Rosemount Liquor failed its last check in April of 2008 the city council imposed a $1,500 fine and a 21 day suspension of the store's liquor license. The store served six days of that suspension, but another 15 days was suspended, only to be served if there was another violation within 24 months. With last month's violation the store was forced to close its doors Dec. 28. According to a sign on the door it will reopen Jan. 14.

The store was also ordered to install equipment that requires clerks to scan a customer's identification before a sale is possible. The equipment was in place last month, but Kalstabakken said the clerk used a manual override to enter the underage customer's birth date and never asked to see identification.

In addition to the two most recent violations Rosemount Liquor has failed compliance checks in March of 2005, February of 2006 and November of 2006.

"It is frustrating, because our compliance checks are not complicated. If they ask for identification and demand to see that before they make a sale, they pass," Kalstabakken said. "It seems like a rather simple thing and a simple expectation that we place on our liquor stores."

Kalstabakken is currently having discussions with city staff and the city's attorney to identify an appropriate penalty. They'll send that proposal to the store's owner for a response, then bring it to the city council for action. Kalstabakken hopes to bring the proposal to the Rosemount City Council no later than the first meeting in February.