County Approves Deal Selling Liquor Store Inventory

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to approve the sale of one liquor store’s inventory to an Ocean City businessman.

Though a motion to accept the same proposal failed with a 3-4 vote last month, the issue was reconsidered Tuesday. The majority of the commissioners agreed to accept the offer from Mike Ramadan of GCBW Inc. to purchase the inventory of the county liquor store in the Gold Coast Mall with a 10-percent markup.

“It’s a good deal for the county because we need to move ahead,” Commissioner Ted Elder said. “If anyone else wanted to make an offer they had time to do it. I don’t see anybody knocking our doors down to get that inventory.”

County leaders agreed last year to begin liquidating the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control. Though there are plans to sublet some of the county’s liquor stores, the lease for the store in the Gold Coast Mall expires Dec. 31. Ramadan, who owns the adjoining beer and wine store, is set to take over the space. On Sept. 19, the commissioners were presented with an offer from Ramadan to purchase the store’s current inventory at the county’s cost plus a 10-percent markup. Because he had no interest in the store’s assets, he agreed to spend $300,000 on inventory in spite of the fact that there’s only $152,457-worth of it in the store now.

As part of the agreement, the county would provide Ramadan with a letter of support as he seeks a license to sell liquor.

Though county staff spoke in favor of the deal, the commissioners weren’t convinced.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said he knew of other people interested in the county’s liquor operations.

“Are we supporting this gentleman over them?” he said at the time.

When the issue was reconsidered this week, Mitrecic continued to question the proposal. He said that because the inventory was being sold at cost with a 10-percent markup, the county was essentially making $30,000.

“The way I read this, we’re letting this gentleman have this store for $30,000,” he said. “We’re not getting any other compensation.”

Kelly Shannahan, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer, said the county’s lease expired at the end of the year.

Mitrecic said that the county was essentially endorsing Ramadan.

Maureen Howarth, the county’s attorney, said that while the commissioners would be providing a letter of support, the decision of whether to grant Ramadan a liquor license was up to the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners.

Mitrecic suggested that as part of the agreement Ramadan purchase the store’s assets as well as its inventory. The assets (furniture and fixtures, for example) are valued at $47,102.

“We’re not going to get anything on,” he said.

Elder replied that even if the county didn’t accept Ramadan’s offer it would have to get rid of the store’s assets on anyway.

Commissioner Chip Bertino pointed out that the $300,000 Ramadan was spending was roughly double the cost of the store’s existing inventory.

“The purchaser has agreed to purchase an additional $150,000 in inventory on top of the $150,000 that’s already there,” he said. “There has been an additional investment that has been made.”

Bertino made the motion to approve the deal, which was approved by all of the commissioners except Mitrecic.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.