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New owner of market in Ferguson fights city to keep business' liquor license

"My client has done nothing wrong and deserves to keep his liquor license," said Attorney Jay Kanzler.

FERGUSON, Mo. — "The city of Ferguson needs good businesses. This is a good business," said Jay Kanzler, the attorney for Najeh Ahmed, the owner of Elite Market & Grill in Ferguson.

Kanzler says 10 months ago, his client was excited to open Elite Market and Grill near West Florissant and Ferguson Avenues.

But, he said the new owner has not felt welcomed by the city.

"He's never been cited for the things that they say. The calls for service or crime in the parking lot. He's never been called to city hall," said Kanzler.

He said on Aug. 10, the city ordered Ahmed to stop selling alcohol at his market.

5 On Your Side is told Ahmed shut down his store for two days then reopened, but did not sell any liquor.

Kanzler said the city is targeting the market because it's a Muslim-owned business.

"He will be the fourth Middle Eastern-owned business that's been targeted for closure or license suspension or revocation and I don't think that's a coincidence," said the market owner's lawyer.

Kanzler filed suit against the city and asked a court to block the liquor sale ban.

Today a judge granted a temporary restraining order, allowing Ahmed to sell alcohol again.

"They never told him what he had done wrong," Kanzler said.

On Tuesday, Ferguson City Manager Eric Osterberg told 5 On Your Side the city council recently voted not to renew the market's liquor license "because of police calls to the area."

The business was formerly Ferguson Market and Liquor.

In August 2014, it made national headlines after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed.

The teenager was at Ferguson Market and Liquor before he went to Canfield Green Apartments where Brown was shot to death by then police officer Darren Wilson, after the pair had a confrontation.

Ahmed's lawyer admits the battle isn't over.

"I would hope it ends with a resolution with the city," said Jay Kanzler.

Both sides return to court on Sept. 1.

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