A member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church was found guilty yesterday in Arlington General District Court of selling flowers without the necessary $200 business license.
Judge Francis E. Thomas suspended the sentence of Kazuo Imall, a fine of up to $500, after Imall promised that he would obtain a business license.
The Arlington commissioner of revenue had argued that two men had been selling flowers by the side of Glebe Road, conducting a business venture that required a license. Thomas dismissed a similar case against Masakazu Irie, also a member of the church, for insufficient evidence.
Imall was found guilty after an Arlington police officer testified that he asked Imall if he were selling flowers, to which Imall nodded. The officer also testified that Imall told him they cost $1.50.
Imall, an immigrant from Japan, testified through a translator that he never stated a price, and that he only asks for donations for his church.
Daniel Holdgreiwe, the attorney for the two men, said of the judge, "He believed the officer, and if he believed the officer, then that's what he had to decide. I am pleased the other case was dismissed because it upholds the church's claim that it has the right to solicit."
The trials were the latest in a continuing dispute between the county commissioner of revenue and the church. According to Jean Crawford, deputy commissioner of revenue for legal issues, there are currently more than 10 summonses for members of the church, who have not been served because they give the church's Washington address.