Metro-East News

Mayor pulls store’s liquor license, says he’ll explain it at hearing

Sammy’s Market and Deli located at the corner of North Douglas and Scheel Street in Belleville is closed.
Sammy’s Market and Deli located at the corner of North Douglas and Scheel Street in Belleville is closed.

The owner of Sammy’s Market in Belleville faces a hearing Thursday on whether he can keep his liquor license.

Ehssan Hamdan, the owner of the store at 530 N. Douglas Ave., could not be reached for comment.

As the liquor commissioner, I called the hearing,” Mayor Mark Eckert said. He said he could not release details about why Hamdan’s liquor license was pulled last week, but additional information will be released during the 10 a.m. hearing.

“That will all be explained at the hearing,” Eckert said.

Eckert said he will decide whether to revoke the liquor license or re-establish it. The hearing will be in the community room in the new police department building at 720 W. Main St. because City Hall is undergoing renovation.

The store has been closed for several weeks because the city pulled the store’s commercial occupancy permit, Eckert said.

Eckert said this permit was pulled because the market had done sewer line and electrical work it was not authorized to do.

“The commercial occupancy was pulled for a number of violations,” the mayor said.

Hamdan received the liquor license for the convenience store in July 2015 by a 15-1 vote by the City Council.

Ward 7 Alderman Phil Elmore said he cast the lone “no” vote “because many people in the neighborhood did not want it.”

Elmore said the issue of liquor sales in the building arose in 2009 but the city did not allow a store to open at that time. Then last year, Hamdan sought and received a liquor license for the store, which is located near homes and the Belleville MetroLink station.

When Elmore was on the City Council in 2009, the store was in his ward. But since then, the wards were realigned and the store is now in Ward 1.

Elmore said he opposes a business at this site selling items such as liquor, lottery tickets and cigarettes.

“We’ve got plenty of locations in Belleville for that and we just don’t need them in neighborhoods,” Elmore said.