Home Run owner surrenders liquor license to city

Home Run owner surrenders liquor license to city

URBANA — The owner of Home Run Food Mart has surrendered the store's liquor license after alcohol sales were suspended following his arrest.

Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Laurel Prussing could have stripped the license from the store at 1509 E. Washington St. had she found cause to do so during a hearing scheduled Wednesday morning.

Instead, an attorney for the owner conceded the license within minutes of convening the proceeding.

Earlier this month, Urbana police arrested store owner Ramzi Alsaqri, 49; his brother, Jameel Alsaqri, 48; and employee Mohammed Mahmoud, 27. They are accused of selling $5 "brown bags" containing a piece of glass tubing, copper mesh and a lighter — items used to smoke crack cocaine — from the store on May 10 and 11.

The arrests were the result of a three-week investigation. The three men face felony charges and are due back in court on Aug. 7.

Last week, the store voluntarily suspended liquor sales while the status of the license was pending. Prussing said on Wednesday that police calls to the store dropped while they weren't selling alcohol.

"Over the years, we've had a lot of police calls related to that business," Prussing said.

Prussing said the owner may now look to sell the business. A new owner would not be able to obtain a liquor license without petitioning Prussing and the city council.


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TimJohnston wrote on June 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

In a previous article the Urbana police Lt. said Home Run doesn't have that many calls for service, but Prussing says "Over the years, we've had a lot of police calls related to that business." Things don't really match up here. Although there seems to be a lot of calls to that area, I highly doubt one store is linked to a lot of them when the entire area is as bad as it gets.

lcoil79 wrote on June 21, 2012 at 5:06 am

Actually, they're both right.  It got bad enough over there, about 2-3 calls per week, that the city actually tried to ger the Home Run to hire security to keep the peace during the evening hours.  This happened back in 2005.  So, when the police say there haven't been a lot of calls there and the mayor says that over the years there have been many, depending on the time frames they are referring to, they're both right, since it was bad enough for a while there that they tried to make them hire security or not get a liquor license.

illini_trucker wrote on June 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

Gosh darn it.. My comment got removed again... Does the truth really hurt THAT bad?? It's okay; we all know the media picks and chooses what they want the public to hear... There was no unethical flames, no legal discrimination... Yet my comment was removed. Goes to show the media censors and yes, news and citizens opinions are in fact biased...

theodusthebear wrote on June 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Congrats Urbana you've stopped liquor sales at homerunn ans say that you want to get rid of crime in the area yet theres a store right next to homerunn that does and sells everything that homerunn did. Its sad how bad Urbana wanted to get rid of Homerunn that they started to nitpick at every little thing trying to find a way to blame them for something so that they could attack. If you really want to get rid of all crime just get rid of it in general and continue with the store next door, or how about the county market right down the street you think its really going to be that hard for people to get stuff? This is all a joke and shows how corrupt our system is. 

SEUResident wrote on June 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

As a resident of SEUrbana, The place needs to go.  They sell gas, cigarettes and liquor to LINK Care recipients who were suppose to buying food.  That's one of the reasons so much crime occur in the area because they also let the drug dealers sale drugs in plain sight at the establishment.  They are part of the problem and are not wanting to be part of the solution.  I for one is glad the police and the city took their license and I hope they shut them down permanently.  They are preditors of the poor people who live in the area and the store of filthy.  I personally would not buy anything in that store, which is laden with junk food, liquor and sugary drinks.  No real food like fruits and vegetables can be found in there.  Good riddens is my opinion.