City OKs liquor licenses despite business owner’s DUI

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Despite a recent DUI and liquor license violation in Chicago, a Glenview businessman on Monday received approval of new liquor licenses for a store he’s taking over in Arlington Heights.

Shishir Patel will receive village-issued Class B and T licenses, which respectively permit the package retail sale of alcohol and in-store tastings for his store at 135 S. Arlington Heights Road. Currently Cardinal Wine & Spirits, the shop will be renamed Lyons Beverage Depot after the upcoming change in ownership.

Village trustees and Mayor Tom Hayes, who doubles as local liquor control commissioner, grilled Patel Monday night about his April 16, 2020, DUI and a 2018 violation of Chicago’s liquor ordinances when an employee of one of his stores sold alcohol to a minor during an undercover police department sting. But following a 20-minute committee of the whole interview of Patel, the board voted 7-0 to award him the new liquor licenses.

“Mr. Patel, you understand why we would have concerns over a DUI and a recent liquor license violation at another establishment for someone who’s seeking to own and operate a liquor store in the village of Arlington Heights,” Hayes said. “And so we want to make sure that you’re reflecting the values that we represent here in this community and that we can trust you to operate your business in compliance with our local liquor laws here.”

Patel said he understood.

He said he entered a guilty plea for the 2020 DUI, which was related to a traffic accident, and is halfway through serving one year of probation. He also completed court-ordered DUI classes.

Under Arlington Heights village code, a DUI charge or conviction is not an automatic disqualifier to receive a liquor license, but any felony is.

Patel explained that the 2018 liquor license violation involved a new employee on his fourth day. The underage sale occurred during a busy late afternoon weekend, he signing up you agree to our terms of service

“We’ve heard that story from a number of people in Arlington Heights as well,” Hayes said. “You understand that those aren’t excuses.”

“I totally understand,” Patel responded.

Patel paid a $1,000 fine and said he fired the employee the next day.

He said he plans to sell one of his two stores in Chicago and will spend most of his time managing the store in Arlington Heights.

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