November 27, 2012
By Jay Ostrich Growing up in Pennsylvania, I enjoyed playing board games over the holidays, and none more than Monopoly. The possibilities were endless, the rules clear, and the objective simple, and it even had cool Keystone State references. But in the end, there could be only one winner, leaving the other players bankrupt and broken. Such are the ends of all monopolies: Just ask Pennsylvania's wine and spirits consumers, who have been playing the game since 1933. Sadly, the state government's alcohol sales monopoly changes the rules as it goes, and it's playing with your money - drinkers and teetotalers alike - while picking wine winners and liquor losers.
October 7, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - The former chairman of the Liquor Control Board is saying through his lawyer that he is cooperating with a state Ethics Commission investigation and that he did not do anything wrong. The lawyer whom Patrick J. "P.J. " Stapleton III has hired is Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., a partner at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, among other areas. Stapleton, a onetime LCB chairman, wrote to Gov. Corbett on Thursday to say he would leave his $71,528 position on Friday after 15 years on the board.
October 6, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Patrick J. "P.J. " Stapleton III, onetime chairman of the state Liquor Control Board, is resigning after 15 years on the board. His exit comes as state ethics investigators look into allegations that he accepted inappropriate gifts and favors at the LCB. Stapleton, whose term expires in November, wrote a one-sentence letter to Gov. Corbett on Thursday saying Friday would be his last day on the job. He told employees of his decision...
September 26, 2012
Gov. Corbett is nominating Ken Trujillo, a Philadelphia lawyer who has held city and state posts, to fill a vacancy on the Liquor Control Board. Trujillo "has earned widespread bipartisan respect in both Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the state," Corbett said Tuesday in a statement. If confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, Trujillo's appointment could give the governor greater control of the three-member board. Corbett has hinted at the need for changes at the oft-criticized agency, which runs the State Stores that the governor wants to privatize.
August 23, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - The state Ethics Commission has launched an inquiry into allegations that three top officials at the Liquor Control Board accepted gifts and favors last year from vendors and other businesses with an interest in liquor regulation. Ethics Commission officials have interviewed at least five employees of the LCB, most of them in the last week, about the allegations contained in a confidential report completed in March by the Inspector General's Office and forwarded to Corbett administration officials.
August 11, 2012
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced a voluntary recall of some lots of 1800 brand tequila because of the potential presence of glass particles in the bottles. The recalled bottles are 1.75 liter Silver, Reposado, and Coconut. All other size bottles, as well as 1800 Tequila Anejo, Select Silver, and 1800 Ultimate Margarita, are not affected. According to the manufacturer, Agavera Camichines S.A. de C.V., the glass stoppers may have been damaged during transport and while no injuries have been reported, the presence of small particles of glass could pose a health risk.
July 14, 2012 |
You might expect an agency supposedly on the brink of elimination to tread quietly for a while. But even amid the legislature's latest failed attempt to make them part of the history from whence they came, Pennsylvania's favorite Prohibition reenactors were still rampaging across the commonwealth, doing their best to keep a lid on the 21st Amendment. The Carrie Nation appreciation society that is the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has trained its ax on the region's eminently likable Iron Hill chain of brew pubs.
June 24, 2012 |
Any senseless body of law requires a corps of lawyers to make a comfortable living off of it. Hence the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's obscure (because they like it that way) cadre of administrative law judges, who occupy their days with the commonwealth's baroque liquor code and those who dare violate it. Well, at least part of their days. As The Inquirer reported last week, investigators from the state Inspector General's Office caught some of the judges spending the equivalent of a couple days out of the office over the course of a dozen workdays.
June 21, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - The push to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania is on the rocks - for now. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, privatization's champion in the legislature, conceded Tuesday that he did not have enough support in the House to get the measure approved before lawmakers' summer break. He vowed to try again this fall. "Right now, we can't get it over the goal line," said Turzai (R., Allegheny). "Consumers are expecting it. But to get to the sweet spot to garner the support in the House is going to take additional work.