Michael I. Halfacre, the former Director of the NJ Division Alcoholic Beverage Control, has been named the Executive Director of the Beer Wholesalers Association of New Jersey, effective January 4, 2016. He will remain Of Counsel to Genova Burns, the law firm he joined upon leaving the ABC last summer. Halfacre is replacing Robert J. Pinard, who is retiring after directing the trade association since 1992.
“Michael Halfacre brings an outstanding record as a legal professional, as well as his regulatory background, that will be vital to leading the Beer Wholesalers Association of New Jersey,” said Mark Kramer, President of Kramer Beverage and Chairman of the associations Executive Committee.
Martell’s Tiki Bar, the popular Pt. Pleasant Beach adult playground, was fined $500,000 and will have its license to serve alcohol suspended for thirty days this fall for over-serving vodka to a female patron who caused a car crash in Old Bridge that killed her and severely injured another woman, according to a settlement with the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control announced by Acting Attorney General John Hoffman.
Ashley Sara Chieco of Wood-Ridge, then 26 years old, drank vodka at Martell’s from 11:07 am on August 16, 2013 until an hour or so before the 6 pm accident in which she was driving the wrong way on Route 18. Chieco was killed and Dana Corrar, then 55, of Old Bridge was severely injured. Chieco left Martell’s in an SUV that did not belong to her, but looked similar to her own vehicle. Her blood alcohol level when she died was .189, more than double the legal limit of .08, according a NJ.com report of incident.
Trenton- Alcohol Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre announced charges against two Jersey Shore area drinking establishments today.
Forked River House of Lacey Township is charged with serving alcohol to actually or apparently intoxicated individuals on six occasions between August of 2012 and March of 2013. In each occasion, the patrons were arrested for driving while intoxicated after leaving the establishment. Their blood alcohol concentration ranged from .15% to .21%. In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if their blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater.
Porta, the Asbury Park pizza restaurant is charged with serving alcohol to two underage women during the summer of 2012. Undercover investigators arrested two 20 year old women for underage drinking on June 9, 2012. A month later investigators arrested a third 20 woman for underage drinking at Porta.
The owners of Tiffany’s Restaurant in Toms River have agreed to sell the establishment’s liquor license rather than contest charges by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control that their bartenders served drinks to visibly intoxicated patrons on three separate occasions, ABC Director Michael Halfacre announced today.
On two of those occasions, two female Tiffany’s patrons were killed in separate drunk driving crashes. In the third, an intoxicated male motorcyclist was injured in a crash.
Bruno D’Uva Sr. and Bruno D’Uva Jr., both of whom own 30 percent of the license, and Lisa Barna, who owns 40 percent, must sell their interests in the license by July 24, 2015 and pay a fine of $200,000. ABC laws prohibit licensed establishments from selling alcoholic beverages to any patrons actually or visibly intoxicated.
Tiffany’s has four other locations in New Jersey, Peaquanock, Pine Brook, Morris Plains and Union. The liquor licenses at those locations are not impacted by this settlement.
-Briad Group Will Employ Compliance Officer and Update Employee Training and Inventory Software —
photo via facebook
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Director Michael Halfacre today announced that the Briad Group, a franchisee of the T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in New Jersey raided in May as part of “Operation Swill,” will pay a fine of $500,000 and not contest charges that eight of its restaurants were serving customers alcoholic beverages other than what they ordered.
“Briad’s restaurants were scamming customers by serving them a cheap substitute for what they ordered,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “This unlawful practice took advantage of consumers who were cheated out of what they thought they were purchasing. This fine should send a clear message to every bar and restaurant throughout New Jersey that customers should get what they pay for every time without exception.”
ABC and Division of Criminal Justice Investigators raided 13 T.G.I. Friday’s owned by Briad during “Operation Swill” and seized approximately 250 bottles of spirits from those locations. Eight of those establishments were charged and included in the settlement. Those locations were in West Orange, East Windsor, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Freehold, Marlboro, Hazlet and Linden.
As part of the settlement, Briad will employ an ABC-appointed monitor through June 30, 2014. The compliance officer will have the full cooperation of Briad’s restaurants and its employees as well as access to all books, records, compensation programs and any other information the monitor deems appropriate. The compliance officer will then report his findings to the ABC. In addition, Briad will make internal changes that include updating employee training and inventory software.
As Revelers Return to Jersey Shore, Cops in Shops back for 17th Year
Division of Alcohol Beverage Control graphic
BELMAR – With the business of summer getting back to usual at the Jersey Shore, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control today joined with other state, county and local officials to announce the summer kickoff of its successful “Cops in Shops” enforcement initiative.
Under the program, local police officers work undercover in participating retail locations. Law enforcement officials either pose as store employees or are positioned outside the establishment to apprehend adults who attempt to purchase alcohol for underage drinkers. Cops in Shops is a program designed by the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers. The New Jersey Cops in Shops program is recognized nationally as a successful program.
“Hurricane Sandy did some damage, but we are proud to be back here at the Shore,” said Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre. “Given the incredible progress this area has made in the last eight months, people are again flocking to their favorite spots along the Jersey Shore. They’re back, which means we’re back.”
“Attitudes among some adults and young people about the dangers of underage drinking can range from indifferent to dismissive, making our job that much more challenging. But that’s a challenge we embrace at the ABC because we are committed to preserving the physical and emotional health of the young people in New Jersey,” he said.
This summer, 28 Shore police departments are participating in the program, with approximately $61,000 in funding provided by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
TRENTON –– Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre today announced actions to crack down on two establishments near Rutgers University and Seton Hall University accused of serving underage drinkers.
The ABC has notified Scarlet Pub in New Brunswick that it is seeking to revoke its license in connection with a July 2011 raid that resulted in the arrest of 26 people. Charges are also pending against Cryan’s Beef and Ale House in South Orange following the arrest of six underage patrons and two staff members during a sweep by the ABC in October.
“Underage drinking is a public safety issue, and it is vital that we send a clear message to license holders and those who are underage that it will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “It’s important to protect the young people of New Jersey with enforcement actions like these, which deter licensees from selling to those under 21.”
In July of 2011, ABC investigators arrested 26 people, including two Scarlet Pub bartenders and a bouncer. Twenty-two patrons were charged with underage drinking, including four who were also charged with presenting a fake identification card. One additional patron was charged strictly with presenting a fake identification. Another arrested patron was also charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana. Those arrested ranged in age from 17 to 20. Scarlet Pub is located near the Rutgers University campus. The arrests were made after ABC investigators received a tip that the bar was crowded with underage drinkers.
On October 21, the Division informed the owners of the Scarlet Pub, NSAS Inc., of its intention to revoke its license. Four days later, ABC investigators visited the pub again and arrested an underage patron along with two bartenders, including Thomas Holman, 28, of Somerset, who had been issued a summons for serving alcohol to an underage person in the first incident.
“Licensees face serious consequences when they choose to serve alcohol to underage drinkers,” said Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre. “The most serious punishment the ABC can level is revocation, and we reserve that consequence for the most extreme violators.”
An anonymous tip also led to the arrests at Cryan’s Beef and Ale House, located less than a mile from Seton Hall University. ABC investigators were observing Cryan’s on October 18 when Ryan Buckman, 20, of Lima, N.Y., and an 18-year-old Toms River woman walked out of the establishment visibly intoxicated. According to investigators, both struggled to maintain their balance, and at one point, the woman stumbled into the path of an oncoming vehicle in a nearby street. Investigators approached both and later determined neither was 21. During questioning, the teenager lost consciousness and was later transported by ambulance from Cryan’s to a local hospital.
In addition to Buckman, ABC detectives arrested five other underage patrons during their investigation: Kelsey Marie Nichols, 20, of Morristown; Danielle Dericks, 19, of Pompton Plains; Sarah Marelli, 20, of Hazlet; Christina Caporrino, 20, of Hazlet; and Michael Gabriel, 20, of Springfield. ABC investigators later questioned two Cryan’s staff members, bartender Jeffry Varela and busboy Alexander Ledesma, both of South Orange. Ledesma, 20, was drinking during his shift and admitted to investigators that Varela had been serving him. Ledesma was arrested and Varela was issued a summons for serving alcohol to an underage person.
A review of the surveillance video of the bar, provided by Cryan’s management that night, revealed that a table had been set up just inside the entrance of the licensed premises to collect money for an open bar promotion. Cryan’s management admitted that it allowed a sorority to collect $20 per person for the two-hour event. All-You-Can-Drink promotions are not permitted under ABC law.
Director Halfacre said administrative charges will be filed against Cryan’s license holder, 24 First Street Inc., after the ABC investigation is concluded.
-Spicy Cantina & Mexican Grill Fined $15,000 and Will Ban ‘Deena’ for Two Years –
TRENTON – The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control today announced a settlement with the owners of Spicy Cantina & Mexican Grill in Seaside Heights in connection with a June 10 incident involving the television show “The Jersey Shore” and cast member Deena Cortese, who was served alcohol at the establishment while visibly intoxicated.
As part of the settlement, Spicy will be fined $15,000 and Cortese, a New Egypt native, will be banned from the restaurant for two years as part of a special condition on the alcohol license, owned by AFW 500 LLC. Also, Spicy faces a 10-day suspension of their license should they violate the ABC’s laws in the next two years.
“This settlement is a cautionary tale for licensees who might think ignoring the law for the sake of airtime is good for business,” said Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre. “By turning a blind eye to the mayhem that can be associated with reality television, you are risking your livelihood. That is, without a doubt, bad for business.”