Troubled Brandy’s liquor store shut down by city
Brandy’s is located at 902 West Michigan Avenue and has been owned by the Cathy and Samir Hanna since 1999. Before then it was called Forbes Market.
The controversial store has had a long history of problems with the City and neighbors. The owners in 2009 signed a consent decree with the City to continue operations after the city filed suit declaring the property a nuisance. A report indicated the store had over 100 calls for service, twice as many calls for police service than any other store or location in the city. The two year consent order expired yesterday, September 1, 2010.
According to the Ypsilanti Police, YPD and Michigan Liquor Control Commission executed a search warrant at 11am today. The search warrant stemmed from several complaints that individuals inside the store were purchasing stolen items and illegally distributing tobacco products. During the month long investigation undercover officers sold numerous items requested by store staff and purchased tobacco that was illegaly sold.
In Michigan, tobacco products cannot be sold without a tax stamp, which precludes the selling of individual cigarettes. Brandy’s has been accused in the past of breaking apart packs of cigarettes and selling them as ‘singles’. It is unclear if today’s search warrant alleges a similar charge.
During the search, police noted what appeared to be building code violations and called both the Ypsilanti Fire and Building departments to the scene. City inspectors found numerous health and safety concerns and the store was condemned and shuttered.
The liquor store across the street called Cal’s, was also condemned by the city in 2008. The owners of Brandy’s purchased Cal’s and the store has remained closed since it was sold. A quick check shows that Cal’s is still condemned thus preventing the owners of Brandy’s from re-opening across the street.
The case has been turned over to the County Prosecutor for review to determine what, if any, charges will be filed against the owners and employees.