WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - On one of the biggest nights of the year for alcohol consumption among young people comes news of a case 9News has been following for a year.
9News was the first to report on the alcohol sales to minors at Town Square Market in Northwest Washington. Andrea McCarren, who has covered this story extensively, reports a shocking update:
On Wednesday afternoon, D.C.'s alcohol control board announced that it would renew the liquor license of Town Square Market, despite the store owner's conviction for selling to a minor and despite the neighborhood advisory commission petitioning against it.
"Disgust. Shock. Outrage. How could this happen?" That was the reaction of a local parent who says her 16-year-old bought vodka and beer from the owner of Town Square Market for a year and a half without being asked for identification.
"He couldn't have been caught more red-handed on dozens of occasions, and yet none of this seems to matter. He can do anything he wants in this town and people don't really seem to care," said the parent.
For almost a year, we have closely documented alleged liquor sales to children as young as 14 at Town Square Market. A D.C. Superior Court judge convicted store owner Richard Kim in May. In June, he was given a $550 fine and a suspended jail sentence.
"It's personal because I went and confronted this guy. He didn't have the guts to look at me," the same parent told us.
The investigation into Kim's business practices went beyond D.C. and into Montgomery County, where officers issued more than three dozen citations to teenagers who'd bought alcohol at the Northwest Washington store and drove with it across the line into Maryland.
"He's just basically thumbing his nose at me and every other parent, including the ones who didn't go confront him and saying, I win, I win. We should all be outraged," the parent told us.
The final ABC board vote was 4 to 1, with the majority arguing that Richard Kim had taken steps to ensure he would not sell to minors in the future.
Still he faces another hearing in January on charges being brought against him by the Office of the Attorney General. But again, despite documentation of sales to minors by D.C. and Montgomery County police, his liquor license will be renewed.