As many of you know, the Langston Civic Association launched a protest against Sylvia's Liquor earlier this year after the store committed a series of violations including selling alcohol to minors and failing to appear at various ABRA proceedings. Holding the store accountable for these infractions is one of several strategies to help reduce crime on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE. The store has long been a hub for violent crime and drug activity. We are still awaiting a final decision from ABRA as to whether the store will lose its liquor license or at least be asked to provide private security and additional cameras angled toward the location of the recent murders and shootings.
In light of the tragic murder of Randall Francis, which took place on November 26. The civic association has sent a follow-up letter to ABRA requesting the immediate closure of the store.
You can view that follow-up letter as well as a transcript of the Oct. 17 protest hearing using the link below.
In addition to these efforts, the civic association has also:
1. Asked DCRA to improve security for nearby vacant properties
2. Requested that MPD put more proactive officers on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE with an emphasis on foot patrols rather than parked cars
3. Contacted the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement about getting violence prevention services on the 1800 block of Benning Rd. NE
4. Scheduled a community meeting on Wednesday Dec. 5 at 7 PM at the Patsy Hartsfield Center. Whether you are a member of the civic association or live in a nearby community that borders Benning Rd. please plan to attend.
On Wednesday October 17, the ABC Board heard testimony from neighbors about why Sylvia's Liquor at 1818 Benning Rd. should lose its liquor license and will make a final decision within 90 days. The board will either decide to allow the store to keep its license with or without stipulations or lose its license completely.
Board members heard testimony regarding the constant illegal activity in front of the store and its detrimental impact on the community including the Baby Einstein daycare next door which has not been able to attract customers due to nearby drug sales and violent crime.
LCA noted that the owners have consistently failed to attend board-ordered mediation sessions at ABRA and have not appeared on time for any of the ABRA hearings that they actually did attend. The owners regularly fail to call police during incidents according to 911 phone records and have a history of calling 911 at a consistently lower rate than similar stores nearby. ANC 5D05 Commissioner Kathy Henderson also testified at the hearing, but testified on behalf of the store rather than the community .
ABRA's investigator also made some preliminary findings, although it is up to the ABC Board to make a final decision. The final board order will be posted online as soon as it is available.
The Langston Civic Association's liquor license protest of Sylvia's Liquor continues to move forward even after the store's owner failed to appear at a mandatory mediation with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board which oversees ABRA and grants liquor licenses required that the store attend the session to discuss safety concerns.
Sydelle Moore attended the mandatory session to share issues submitted by neighbors about recent murders, drug activity, violent as well as sales of alcohol to minors. Although most ABRA protests end in a settlement between the store and the community, the owner's failure to appear makes this outcome unlikely.
Comm. Kathy Henderson (ANC 5D05) attempted to represent the store at the missed June 21 session. Henderson originally voted to protest the store's license on March 13, but ANC 5D lost the right to protest after she failed to submit paperwork or appear at a June 4 hearing.
Henderson appeared at ABRA to request a new mediation date because the owner told her he was too busy to attend the mandatory session. Henderson, however, failed to provide documentation authorizing her to represent the store and is not an attorney, so she could not legally make requests on the owner’s behalf.
The June 21 mediation was scheduled several weeks in advance after the owner had already missed two non-mandatory sessions.
ABRA contacted the owner directly, after the missed session, but he has failed to reschedule. The owner did make an unscheduled appearance at ABRA alongside Henderson on June 25, but failed to notify ABRA or LCA and no mediator was available when they arrived.
The ABC board will hold a final hearing to determine the status of the store's license on August 1, 2018. If you would like to testify, please contact Sydelle Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-681-6159 before Friday, July 13, 2018
The ABC Board ruled today that the Langston Civic Association does have standing to protest the license of Sylvia’s Liquor at 1818 Benning Rd. NE.
The Civic Association is still requesting input from neighbors about ways that the store could better serve the community and help prevent crime. We welcome your comments online and will be hosting a discussion on the topic TOMORROW June 5, 2018 at our quarterly meeting.
Rosedale Recreation Center
1701 Gales St. NE
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Sylvia’s Fact Sheet:
Submit Your Comments:
View Your Neighbors’ Suggestions:
Comm. Henderson Fails to Appear
Despite the fact that ANC 5D voted to protest the ABRA license of Sylvia’s Liquor on March 13, Comm. Kathy Henderson failed to submit complete and accurate pre-hearing paperwork and failed to appear at the June 4, 2018 hearing. This is the fifth time Comm. Henderson has voted to support a protest, but subsequently failed to submit paperwork or appear at the hearing.
Despite the fact that Comm. Kathy Henderson (Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5D) missed the deadline to submit a settlement agreement while representing ANC 5D in its protest of the Food 7 Store, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board offered Henderson an extension to type and correct a previously rejected and partially handwritten contract submitted to board members on February 28, 2018. The late contract has now been filed. (Note: Henderson purchased a laptop on behalf of ANC 5D in November 2014.) For Henderson, this marks the 6th instance of a delay or dismissal caused by missed deadlines, incorrect paperwork, failure to appear or dishonesty before the ABC board since 2009. Despite years of complaints and several nearby homicides, this agreement is Henderson's first protest of the establishment during her tenure as an ANC commissioner. The last ANC protest was filed 17 years prior in January of 2000 by ANC 5B.
Although the agreement includes some errors and a missing signature from the ANC 5D chairperson, Comm. Clarence Lee; this agreement is still enforceable. Lee declined to sign the agreement in January 2018 because Henderson presented him with a version of the document different than what ANC 5D voted to accept at its November 2017 meeting.
Although many of you are aware of these issues, it should also be known that they do not negate the enforceability of the ANC agreement. Please find the agreement below and know that it is yet another tool that the community may use to hold the Food 7 Store accountable for much-needed change. Although the ANC agreement duplicates many of the provisions of the previously filed civic association agreement, residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the specifics of both agreements and make your civic association as well as ABRA aware of any violations. The association will follow up on reported issues in a timely fashion, but citizens MUST be diligent. It is up to everyone to monitor the situation and maintain a strong sense of accountability.
REPORT ANY VIOLATIONS IMMEDIATELY BY CALLING or EMAILING:
When making a complaint follow these three important steps to achieve the best results:
Keeping a paper trail will help keep the store as well as ABRA accountable to our community.