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Long IslandCrime

Coram beer distributor Superstar Beverage shuttered, officials say

Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini in front

Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini in front of Superstar Beverage beer distributor in Coram on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, where police and town discussed the shutdown of the business. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A Coram beer distributor that residents and lawmakers called a magnet for vagrants and prostitutes has been shuttered and its building condemned, authorities said Friday.

Superstar Beverage, a store at the edge of the Coram Plaza shopping center on Route 112, was cited for as many as 20 violations on Thursday, with fines of at least $1,000 each, authorities said.

The fines were for such infractions as building and fire code violations as well as selling alcohol to minors, officials said.

The store’s parking lot was a hangout for homeless people who drank and loitered in it, sometimes using the nearby wooded area as a bathroom, lawmakers and residents said. On Friday the front door was plastered with a bright yellow stop work order and a fluorescent pink sign that said the structure is condemned by fire marshals and building inspectors from the Town of Brookhaven for fire code violations, and for having no certificate of compliance or certificate of occupancy, authorities said.

Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini said lawmakers and town officials banded together to close down an eyesore.

“This was a site of numerous types of violations and it essentially served as an attractive nuisance,” Sini said. “We had issues ranging from . . . underage drinking to attracting folks who were loitering and engaging in public urination to prostitution, trash, all sorts of issues.”

Superstar Beverage store owner Neil Mennella said he asked authorities for help but only received blame.

“We want to see it cleaned up and we’re looking for their direction on how we can help to do things,” Mennella said. “But when we call the police and they don’t show up for four hours, it kind of turns you off to going outside to tell people to stop . . . doing things that could put our employees in jeopardy when we know there’s no backup for us.”

Investigators have watched the shop for the past year and said an undercover minor was able to buy alcohol in October, said a State Liquor Authority spokesman.

The store was cited 10 times for allowing holders of Electronic Benefit Transfer food assistance cards to cash out and use the money to buy alcohol, which is illegal, the liquor authority spokesman said. The store owner was issued a warning for the violations, he said.

Mennella denied cashing out EBT cards and said he did not sell alcohol to minors.


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