South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s vs. SCDOR

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s

South Carolina Department of Revenue

Walter B. Todd, Jr., Esquire
For Petitioner

Craig M. Pisarik, Esquire
For Respondent

Judy S. Gilstrap, County Council Member
Elizabeth S. Carper
D. Jerry Rugg
Protestants, pro se




The above-captioned case comes before this court pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2007), S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 2007), and S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (2005 & Supp. 2007) for a contested case hearing. Petitioner Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s, seeks an off-premises beer and wine permit for its convenience store, Ed’s GT’s, located at 3799 White Horse Road in Greenville, South Carolina. Respondent South Carolina Department of Revenue would have granted the permit but for the protests filed by several nearby property and business owners regarding the suitability of the location. In particular, the protestants oppose Petitioner’s permit because they contend that operation of the convenience store with a beer and wine permit will have an adverse impact on the community, as it had under previous proprietors. After timely notice to the parties and the protestants, a hearing of this matter was held on April 11, 2008, at the South Carolina Administrative Law Court in Columbia, South Carolina. Based upon the applicable law and the evidence presented, I find that the Petitioner’s application for a beer and wine permit should be granted.


Having carefully considered all testimony, exhibits, and arguments presented at the hearing of this matter, and taking into account the credibility and accuracy of the evidence, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of the evidence:

1. On August 25, 2007, Nimesh Patel submitted an application on behalf of Petitioner Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s, to the Department for an off-premises beer and wine permit for his convenience store, Ed’s GT’s, located at 3799 White Horse Road in Greenville, South Carolina. The application and the Department’s file are hereby incorporated into the record by reference.

2. Notice of Petitioner’s application was published once a week for three consecutive weeks in The Greenville News, a newspaper published and circulated in Greenville, South Carolina, and proper notice of the application was posted at the proposed location for fifteen days. The newspaper erroneously published the notice as an on-premises beer and wine permit. However, Mr. Patel submitted the application to be published as an off-premises permit and confirmed that Jaliabapa is applying for an off-premises beer and wine permit.

3. Petitioner Jaliabapa, Inc. is a South Carolina statutory close corporation incorporated on September 18, 2007, and in good standing with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Nimesh Patel is the manager and sole owner of Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s.

4. Mr. Patel is over twenty-one years of age and does not have any delinquent state taxes. Further, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) conducted criminal background investigations of Mr. Patel which did not reveal any criminal arrests or convictions. The record does not indicate that Mr. Patel has engaged in any acts or conduct implying the absence of good moral character.

5. Mr. Patel has lived in the United States for eight or nine years. He has been in Greenville for eight or nine months. He moved to South Carolina from Tampa, Florida, to be near his wife’s family. In Tampa, he operated a convenience store for eight years, a family business that he turned over to his brother when he moved.

6. Mr. Patel entered an agreement to purchase the convenience store in Greenville from Travis Investments, Inc. on September 21, 2007. In an addendum of the same date, Mr. Patel contracted to lease the property with an option to buy while trying to purchase the underlying property. Mr. Patel purchased the business from Elliott Collins, who previously owned and managed it, and purchased the underlying property from Greg Travis, who owned the convenience store prior to Mr. Collins in 2001. Both Elliott Collins and Greg Travis operated the location as a convenience store and had an off-premises beer and wine permit. Thus, the location has been permitted since at least 1997. While the location was a parts store before that and several businesses went through over the years, several witnesses testified that it was a Fast Fare for several years previously. This court takes judicial notice that Fast Fares routinely have off-premises beer and wine permits for convenience store operations.[1]

7. Ed’s GT’s was operating on a temporary 120-day permit, which expired on January 22, 2008. The store has experienced no problems, including the concerns raised by the protestants below, during the period governed by the temporary permit. The convenience store will operate from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. except on Sunday, when it will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. However, Ed’s GT’s will not sell alcohol on Sundays. Mr. Patel has no plans to seek a permit for Sunday sales. Ed’s GT’s has only one other employee besides Mr. Patel; Mr. Patel is always there when the store is open. Ed’s GT’s will not have any video games. He does not allow people to hang out; they come in cars, get what they need, and leave. He has a 24-hour camera surveillance system.

8. The convenience store is situated at the intersection of White Horse Road and Short Street in an urban, residential community. The community is commercial in nature with a number of older residences interspersed and another convenience store down the street. Ed’s GT’s is located next to Nationwide Insurance, Borden Lock & Key, J&T Realty, Carper Real Estate, and just down the street from the Spinx store. A bar is almost directly across the street. Tabernacle Baptist Church and School is four-tenths of a mile down the street. Welcome Elementary School is three-tenths of a mile down the street in the other direction. Neither the church nor the school are visible from the proposed permitted location. Both the Spinx convenience store, which has an off-premises beer and wine permit, and the nearby bar, which has an on-premises beer and wine permit and liquor license, are located closer to the church than the proposed location.

9. As it relates to the proposed location, the protestants are life-long residents of the community and live or run businesses in the immediate vicinity of the convenience store. They all eloquently and passionately described the nature of crime associated with the area surrounding this location. However, while there are problems in the area, there is no direct evidence that Ed’s GT’s is exacerbating or generating the criminal activity. The protestants have not noticed any recent problems at Ed’s GT’s since Mr. Patel acquired and began running the business.

Judy Gilstrap, County Council Member for this district, testified that she lives in the cul-de-sac behind Ed’s GT’s. She has protested every application at this location, as well as nearby permitted locations. She testified that when the location was operated as a Fast Fare, there were fights and men urinating in back, which forced her to put an eight-foot privacy fence around her pool. However, these events occurred over eleven years ago. There is a partial fence around the back of Ed’s GT’s in poor condition.

Elizabeth Carper, who owns the real estate business next door, testified that the location is a gathering place for prostitutes and that she was jumped at knifepoint and robbed of her bag in 2002 by someone coming from GT’s. She stated that she owns the twenty apartments across the street and has had problems with people breaking into and living in the apartments. She asserts that the proposed permitted location at Ed’s GT’s generates the activity by providing the prostitutes with a place to be, and that she can see the activity from next door at her business. The testimony indicates that prostitution and drug dealing are common in the community. However, the criminal activity near this location appears unrelated to Ed’s GT’s sale of off-premises beer and wine. Mr. Patel testified that he has not seen any prostitutes in front of the store.

Jerry Rugg from Tabernacle Baptist Church testified that the church has a bus ministry and that the area in front of Ed’s GT’s is a dangerous section in the route. However, there is no evidence that Ed’s GT’s exacerbates or contributes to any traffic problems in the area.


Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact, I conclude the following as a matter of law:

1. Jurisdiction over this case is vested with the South Carolina Administrative Law Court pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-2-260 (Supp. 2007), S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 2007), and S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (2005 & Supp. 2007).

2. “[T]he issuance or granting of a license to sell beer or alcoholic beverages rests in the sound discretion of the body or official to whom the duty of issuing it is committed[.]” Palmer v. S.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Comm’n, 282 S.C. 246, 248, 317 S.E.2d 476, 477 (Ct. App. 1984); see also Wall v. S.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Comm’n, 269 S.C. 13, 235 S.E.2d 806 (1977).

3. S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-520 (Supp. 2007) establishes the criteria for the issuance of a beer and wine permit. Included in the criteria is the requirement that the proposed location be a proper and suitable one. See id. § 61-4-520(6)-(7).

4. Although “proper location” is not statutorily defined, broad discretion is vested in the trier of fact to determine the fitness or suitability of a particular location for the requested permit. See Fast Stops, Inc. v. Ingram, 276 S.C. 593, 281 S.E.2d 118 (1981).

5. The determination of suitability of location is not necessarily a function solely of geography. Rather, it involves an infinite variety of considerations related to the nature and operation of the proposed business and its impact on the community within which it is to be located. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985); Schudel v. S.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Comm’n, 276 S.C. 138, 276 S.E.2d 308 (1981).

6. In determining whether a proposed location is suitable, it is proper for this court to consider any evidence that shows adverse circumstances of location. Kearney v. Allen, 287 S.C. 324, 338 S.E.2d 335 (1985); Palmer v. S.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Comm’n, 282 S.C. 246, 317 S.E.2d 476 (Ct. App. 1984) (citing Smith v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 504, 189 S.E.2d 301 (1972)).

7. However, the denial of a license application cannot be sustained where concerns about criminal problems resulting from the operation of the licensed business are . . . speculative or where claims that the business’s operations will overburden local law enforcement are not supported by competent evidence.

John D. Geathers and Justin R. Werner, The Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages in South Carolina 193 (S.C. Bar CLE Div. 2007) (citations omitted).

8. [A]s with concerns raised about law enforcement problems at a location, an application for an alcoholic beverage license should not be denied [on the ground] of the unsuitability of the proposed location where concerns about disturbances to neighbors are . . . speculative and not supported by evidence or where the possible disturbances are inherent in any business activity and are wholly unrelated to the alcoholic beverage activities.

Id. at 194 (citations omitted).

9. The issuance or denial of a permit or license rests within the sound discretion of this court as the trier of fact. Terry v. Pratt, 258 S.C. 177, 187 S.E.2d 191 (1972). In considering the Petitioner’s convenience store, I am mindful that this case raises a close question as to whether this permit should be granted. Nonetheless, I find the proposed location suitable for the issuance of a beer and wine permit. The location, while not grandfathered, has already been declared suitable numerous times. Two other businesses are already licensed in the area: the Spinx convenience store for off-premises beer and wine and the bar across the street for on-premises beer and wine and liquor. This court does not doubt the sincerity of and is not unsympathetic to the protestants’ concerns. However, the evidence does not indicate that there has been any recent criminal activity that was generated by a beer and wine permit at the proposed location. Further, this court acknowledges Mr. Patel’s utilization of 24-hour security cameras inside and outside the convenience store. Mr. Patel has extensive individual and family experience running convenience stores in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Patel appears to be running a reputable business that will close at a reasonably early hour in comparison to past convenience store operations at this location. Therefore, issuance of the permit will not adversely impact the community.


Based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law stated above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the application of Petitioner Jaliabapa, Inc., d/b/a Ed’s GT’s, for the issuance of an off-premises beer and wine permit for the premises located at 3799 White Horse Road in Greenville, South Carolina, is GRANTED. AND IT IS SO ORDERED.


June 5, 2008 JOHN D. GEATHERS

Columbia, South Carolina Administrative Law Judge

1205 Pendleton Street, Suite 224

Columbia, South Carolina 29201-3731

[1] See Rule 201, SCRE.


Brown Bldg.






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