Cigar business owner charged for illegally operating bar, lounge
Reportedly ignored warnings from fire officials
The owner of Invictus Cigars, a Waldorf business, has been charged with illegally running a bar and lounge as well as accused of operating out of compliance with fire safety code, despite repeated warnings from government and fire marshal officials.
Owner Malcolm Lashon Hill, 42, of Waldorf was charged with violating terms of his building usage permit and reckless endangerment for the danger posed to patrons of the cigar lounge and bar, court records show. Fire marshals reported that he blatantly ignored warnings, and filed charges against Hill about three weeks after the business was temporarily closed, marked as unsafe to enter from April 11-13.
The cigar store is only permitted to operate as a mercantile business, court records show. The business had previously attempted to submit two different plans to Charles County government and the Office of the State Fire Marshal; however, the plans were rejected due to the significant changes to the structure, which would affect two neighboring tenants, needed for compliance with life safety code.
On April 21, fire marshals learned, despite numerous previous contacts and warnings, that the business was advertising a “Fish Fry Happy Hour” event, which clearly violated the conditions of building usage, court records state. Around 8:30 p.m., deputy fire marshal John Tennyson entered Invictus Cigars and found Hill and another employee assisting customers in a bar, lounge area in the back of the business, which he had repeatedly been warned not to use for any reason, charging documents state. Patrons were seen eating, drinking and smoking cigars.
Confronted by Tennyson, Hill reportedly said his employees had opened the back room without permission, though Tennyson noted that he saw Hill assisting with business operations when he arrived, not attempting to clear patrons out. Hill then began cursing and slamming doors, Tennyson wrote.
The business’ website, Invictuscigarlounge.com, advertises the establishment as “Invictus Cigars bar & lounge,” where patrons can enjoy cigars on leather chairs with four 60-inch televisions. From Sunday to Wednesday, the business is open from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., the website states. Thursday to Saturday, it’s open from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Maryland Independent spoke with an employee by phone on Wednesday, who said the business would be open until midnight. The owner, Hill, could not be immediately reached for comment.