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Court Battle Brews

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A second convenience store stripped of its beer license by the Dyersburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen has asked a judge to review the record of the beer-license suspension hearing and reverse the decision.

Cox Oil Co. Inc. of Union City, parent company of Little General convenience stores, filed a complaint March 18 seeking a review of the March 4 proceedings at which the city board suspended the store's beer license for 90 days, according to the (Tenn.) State Gazette.

At the hearing, the board found that a clerk had sold beer to an underage customer working undercover with the Dyersburg Police Department. City code requires a 90-day license suspension for a first offense. However, a judge required the city to provide a transcript of the proceedings, staying the beer license suspension until the record can be reviewed.

In the complaint, Cox Oil claims that a criminal misdemeanor charge against the clerk who was alleged to have sold beer to the underage customer was dismissed. The company also said it has a tape of all transactions on the night in question and the videotape shows that the clerk requested identification from all customers who appeared to be near the age of 21. The city board, though, refused to review the videotape during the hearing.

City court records show that the criminal charge against the clerk was dismissed and that the clerk made a $500 donation to the city's drug fund.

Little General is the second business to appeal the city board's March 4 rulings. On March 5, the All-in-One convenience store appealed the board's 15-month suspension of that business's license after the board determined the underage ordinance had been violated twice. Both stores may continue to sell beer while the cases are pending in court.
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