Three local businesses were fined by the Covington Beer Board Tuesday night for making underage beer sales during a police-led operation in January.
Reenaben Ravikumar Patel, owner of FastWay at 880 Hwy. 51 North, was fined $2,500. Patel said the employee miscalculated the date of birth of the minor working with the Covington Police on underage buys.
FastWay has held a permit since August 2021. It was their first violation.
Patel apologized to the board.
“We thank you,” said mayor Jan Hensley. “We value you being here, but we value those teens even more than we do selling beer.”
Naifeh’s Cash Saver, which has held a license in their current location since March 2021, also had its first violation. A member of the Responsible Vendor Program, they were fined only $1,000.
“We are guilty as charged,” said Dana Naifeh. “We don’t take this lightly – it’s serious to us and we take it personally. We don’t make a living off of selling beer to minors. We have 175 employees we work with every day and we rely on them to do the right thing.”
Naifeh said the store has the proper procedures in place to avoid selling to minors, but sometimes employees don’t follow it. While every employee who sold beer to the minor was criminally charged, she advocated for stronger penalties for the employees.
“I do think we could do more on the part of the employees. I could be here again next week. I would love to work with someone to come up with something where we can really teach them.”
Dollar General, across the street from Naifeh’s, was also fined $2,5000. District manager William Horton said the offending employee was terminated the day after the incident.
“This is definitely something we take very seriously. We have zero tolerance.”