July 18, 2014
WANT TO open a bar in Pennsylvania and avoid the standard six-figure price tag for a liquor license? The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, through its extraordinarily lenient interpretation of the state liquor code, lets you do it for as little as $500. All it takes is a one-page application with none of the lengthy red tape and criminal background checks applicants normally face. The discount license is an unforeseen product of a 2012 liquor code amendment crafted by the Legislature to make it easier for licensees to cater one-day private events.
June 24, 2014
ISSUE | ELECTIONS Cross-country donations tell a tale Regarding the questions raised about donations to Eighth Congressional District Democratic nominee Kevin Strouse, the first time that two legal but ethically questionable events occur simultaneously, it can be considered a coincidence ("Happy returns," June 19). If those same events occur a second time, they are said to have entered a gray area. Upon the third occurrence, the only comparison to be made is to that of dead fish rotting in the noonday sun. Voters of Bucks County deserve - and in U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.)
June 19, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Everyone expects the cork on the bubbly to pop. But the whole bottle? In the realm of Pennsylvania's multibillion dollar liquor business, it was like a comet sighting. Suddenly, glass bottles of sparkling wine were exploding. In the stores. In the halls of the Liquor Control Board headquarters. On someone's kitchen counter. Eight incidents so far, officials say. So the LCB is issuing what may be its first warning ever to consumers about a potentially explosive shipment of wine.
March 29, 2014
Sticking to principle Coverage of the Exxon Valdez debacle of 25 years ago reminded me why I have not bought any Exxon gasoline or products (that I know of) since that fateful day of the Alaska oil spill ("Exxon Valdez remembered," March 25). Meanwhile, Exxon has been playing the litigation game by paying its lawyers to contest the penalties levied against the company by the courts. That in itself is a crime and another failure for our environment. Bob Maier, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org Cheap ride Former Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board chairman Patrick J. Stapleton 3d was a neighbor for years, and I castigated him for driving a beat-up car to Harrisburg ("Liquor officials drank for free," March 23)
March 25, 2014
WITH APOLOGIES to the NCAA, here in Pennsylvania we got our own "March Madness. " It's the political kind. It's mostly defined as doing the same things over and over expecting different results. For example, we have five Democratic Philly lawmakers allegedly guilty of wrongdoing so common it's part of our Legislature's brand. We should start reading lawmakers their rights along with their oaths of office. Sen. LeAnna Washington faces charges she misused her authority, staff and tax dollars for political gain.
March 19, 2014 |
Three former high-ranking Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board officials violated ethics rules between 2008 and 2012 by accepting gifts, donations, and hospitality from vendors who had business dealings with the agency, the state Ethics Commission has found. The gifts included entry into golf tournaments, meals at upscale restaurants, and, in one case, an engraved bottle of high-end scotch. Together, the items were worth more than $23,000, the commission said in reports released Monday.
March 6, 2014 |
HARRISBURG A high-level official at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is leaving his $113,937 post days before the release of a long-awaited report into alleged ethics violations at the agency. Marketing director Jim Short notified the agency of his retirement this week, the agency confirmed. Short was one of three LCB officials named in a 2012 confidential report by the state Inspector General's Office that contended they had improperly accepted gifts and favors from vendors.
February 28, 2014
"I CAN'T remember the exact name. Mart something. It's a red wine . . . " "What part of the world is it from?" "I think it's from us?" That's all the info Rob Peters needs. After a lickety-split visual scan and a series of quick steps through the Ardmore Plaza Wine & Spirits store, he's got his hands on the exact bottle - a Cabernet Sauvignon from Louis M. Martini out of Sonoma County, Calif. - that his customer is seeking. Peters has been presented with such cryptic oenophilic conundrums for 20 years, and it's his job to field them.
February 21, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - The state law passed late last year allowing taverns and restaurants to host small games of chance was supposed to be a win for everyone: merchants, bettors, and Gov. Corbett, who is counting on tens of millions of dollars in new gambling taxes. But the numbers disclosed in a budget hearing Wednesday didn't sound like a winning bet. Since the law's passage, only five establishments statewide have even applied for the license. None has been approved. All of which left several senators on the Appropriations Committee in a cold sweat, because the Corbett administration's proposed $29.4 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 banks on collecting $102 million in revenue from small games of chance.
June 4, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The clock is quickly running down for state ethics investigators to complete an inquiry into allegations that top officials at the Liquor Control Board accepted gifts and favors from vendors and other businesses with an interest in liquor regulation. The Ethics Commission launched its probe last summer on the heels of a confidential report by the state Inspector General's Office that described LCB Chief Executive Officer Joseph Conti, former board member Patrick J. Stapleton III, and marketing director James Short as having accepted gifts and favors in 2011, including wine and tickets to sporting events.