Convenience stores issued soda, cigarette permits

Leader Reporter/April 21, 2005
By Tim Ryan

Midwest Oil, the new owners of two former Cenex gas stations in Shawano, received permits from the city on Wednesday for the sale of cigarettes and soft drinks a day after being issued a warning from police for unlawfully selling the items.

The Shawano Police Department had halted those sales Tuesday evening after the city received a complaint that the stations at 716 S. Main St. and 1381 E. Green Bay St. were selling tobacco products and soft drinks without a permit.

The stations opened last weekend.

Late Wednesday, Midwest Oil – one of several companies affiliated with the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology (SIST) – and the city of Shawano gave sharply contrasting accounts of the permit flap.

City clerk-treasurer Marlene Brath said Midwest Oil had started to apply for the licenses about two weeks ago – and in fact had already paid the fees for them – but failed to provide all of the necessary signatures.

“When they brought them in originally, they brought them in with a request for a Class A beer license that was not properly completed,” Brath said. “They took the Class A beer licenses, along with the cigarette and soda licenses, and left.”

Brath said the applications were returned Tuesday at around 4:30 p.m., just before City Hall closed. On Wednesday morning, Brath said, she called to say the permits were ready.

Naomi Isaacson, CEO of Midwest Oil, said the permits were handed over to two representatives with no explanation of why there had been a problem.

“Upon their arrival, the representatives were handed the cigarette and soda license, without further ado or comment,” Isaacson said. “They walked in the door, she pushed the permits at them.”

Brath said that isn’t true.

“They came in and they asked questions as to why their licenses weren’t processed, and I explained that the Class A beer licenses had some areas that needed to be completed – a signature needed to be notarized, along with another signature that was necessary,” Brath said.

She told them, however, that they could now have the cigarette and soda licenses.

“That’s when they got these,” she said.

Brath also said the request for a beer license has still not been filed.

“The plan was that they were going to get it to me in time to get it on the council agenda,” Brath said. “The intent is to get it on the May 11 agenda,” Brath said. “That was the plan they left me with but they did not leave me with any applications. They took them with them.”

Mayor Lorna Marquardt said the two representatives, Kal Gronvall and Darlene Sense, were in Brath’s office “for some time” when they came to get their permits Wednesday.

Isaacson accused Marquardt of targeting the gas stations and said Midwest Oil ‘will definitely be taking action on it,” but did not specify what that would be.

“Obviously the mayor’s staged, baseless action in sending the officer to 716 S. Main to issue the warning letter was intentionally discriminatory and yet another saga in the history of Shawano and justice.”

Marquardt said the city was merely enforcing its ordinances.

“They did not have a license for that property,” Marquardt said. “They were fortunate they did not get a fine. They received a warning. To say that the city is prejudiced in expecting them to follow the same rules as every other business is absolutely ludicrous. The city did absolutely nothing illegal.”

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