Halfacre named Executive Director of NJ Beer Wholesalers Association

Michael I. Halfacre

Michael I. Halfacre

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.

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Posted: December 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: ABC, Fair Haven, Mike Halfacre, Monmouth County, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Halfacre Joins Genova Burns

halfacre

Michael Halfacre

Michael Halfacre, the former Mayor of Fair Haven, and as of this morning the former Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, has joined the prestigious law firm of Genova Burns as Counsel.

Working from the firm’s Red Bank office, Halfacre will be a member of the Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment and Business Law & Commercial Transactions Practice Groups.  He will also be available for consultation to the Firm’s Craft Beer, Spirits & Alcohol Law Practice Group.

Michael’s experience running the ABC these past three years makes him an excellent choice to offer counsel to the Firm’s newly formed Craft Beer, Spirits & Alcohol Law practice group,” said Managing Partner Brian W. Kronick. “Moreover, during his many years in private practice prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office he was highly regarded for his representation of clients in business transactional work and particularly in real estate leasing and transactions. He brings those skills and strategic abilities to the Firm as well.”

In his private practice, Halfacre specialized in transactions, including sales and refinance of commercial real estate and transfers of ABC licenses.

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Posted: July 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Fair Haven, Mike Halfacre, Monmouth County, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Halfacre Joins Genova Burns

Halfacre Leaving The Christie Administration

Michael Halfacre

Michael Halfacre

Michael Halfacre submitted his resignation as Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control to Acting Attorney General John Hoffman yesterday, effective June 30,2015.

Under Halfacre’s leadership since March of 2012, the ABC is credited with cracking down on underage drinking, the sale of alcohol to the already intoxicated, and penalizing establishments that were scamming consumers by “drink substitution,” i.e. charging customers for the “top shelf” drinks they ordered while actually serving cheaper booze.

During Halfacre’s tenure, new laws were implemented for the brewing and distilling industry which have lead to an emerging micro brewing industry.  Additionally, new rules were written to regulate the direct sale of wine to consumers by out-of-state wineries.

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Posted: May 22nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Fair Haven, Mike Halfacre, Monmouth County, Monmouth County News, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Popular Pt. Pleasant Beach Bar Fined $500K, Suspended for 30 Days For Over-Serving Patron Killed in 2013 Crash

Photo via tikibar.com

Photo via tikibar.com

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.

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Posted: April 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: ABC, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Mike Halfacre | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Popular Pt. Pleasant Beach Bar Fined $500K, Suspended for 30 Days For Over-Serving Patron Killed in 2013 Crash

Franchisee of T.G.I. Friday’s Targeted in “Operation Swill” to Pay $500,000 for Replacing Premium Alcohol with Cheaper Substitutes

-Briad Group Will Employ Compliance Officer and Update Employee Training and Inventory Software —

 

photo via facebook

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.

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Posted: July 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: ABC, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Contril, Mike Halfacre, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Franchisee of T.G.I. Friday’s Targeted in “Operation Swill” to Pay $500,000 for Replacing Premium Alcohol with Cheaper Substitutes

ABC, Cops in Shops, Preventing Underage Drinking

As Revelers Return to Jersey Shore, Cops in Shops back for 17th Year

 

Division of Alcohol Beverage Control graphic

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.

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Posted: June 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: #STTS, ABC, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Jersey Shore, Mike Halfacre, Press Release | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Attorney General and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Announce Charges and Investigation of Popular College Bars

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.  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: ABC, Christie Administration, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Mike Halfacre, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Settles With Seaside Heights Bar for Serving Visibly Intoxicated “Jersey Shore” Cast Member

-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.”

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Posted: September 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: ABC, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Mike Halfacre, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Point Pleasant Beach Bars Allowed Stay Open To 2 AM

Michael Halfacre, the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the State Department of Law and Public Safety has issued a stay to Point Pleasant Beach’s Ordinance establishing a midnight closing time for bars in the borough.  The bars can stay open till 2 am pending a hearing and final ruling.

Halfacre ordered that a hearing on the matter be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge.  Halfacre will make a final determination, as provided by law, of the hours of operation of Point Pleasant Beach bars after review the Administrative Law Judge’s findings.   The hearing date is yet to be set.

In his order granting the stay, Halfacre noted that the 2 am closing time maintains the status quo, that should the bars prevail in their appeal that they would be unable to recover the lost business that would have resulted from a midnight closing time while the case was pending, and that the borough has several methods available to preserve the public safety until the final resolution of the appeal.

Jenkinson’s Pavilion Inc, Ocean Dunes, Inc, and Martell’s Tiki Bar, Inc are the companies that filed the appeal with ABC.

 

Posted: June 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Mike Halfacre | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Point Pleasant Beach Bars Allowed Stay Open To 2 AM

Halfacre’s ABC nomination approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

Former Mayor Mike Halfacre’s nomination as the Director of the Division  Alcoholic Beverage Control was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon.

In answering questions posed by members of the committee, Halfacre expressed his commitment to combat underage drinking and to run his agency has a regulatory and enforcement body, not a policy making body.

Halfacre was appointed Assistant Attorney General and Acting Director on February 6.  His nomination is scheduled be voted on by the full Senate on March 15.

Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Art Gallagher, Mike Halfacre | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »