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.
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.
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.
Governor Chris Christie will be appearing on the Sunday morning talk shows of ABC, CBS and NBC this weekend.
Christie will be live with George Stephanopoulos in ABC’s “This Week”, 10am in New York and rebroadcast at 10:30 am in Philadelphia.
The interviews with CBS’s “Face the Nation” and NBC’s “Meet the Press” will be taped. Face the Nation airs at 10:30 am in both New York and Philadelphia. “Meet the Press” airs at 10:00 am in Atlantic City and at 10:30 am in New York and Philadelphia.
Following his live interview with Stephanopoulos, Christie is scheduled to attend the 25th Annual Governor’s Military Review at the New Jersey National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt at 11am.
Unless Stephanopoulos is broadcasting from Sea Girt, Christie will very likely be traveling from ABC’s studio in New York to Sea Girt via helicopter. Expect Democratic whining on Monday.
-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.”
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.
30 Shore Law Enforcement Agencies Will Participate in “Cops in Shops” Stings
BELMAR – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa gathered in Belmar today with state and local officials, as well as members of the liquor and prevention industry to outline his plans to stop underage drinking on the Jersey Shore.
“We all look forward to soaking up the fun of the Jersey Shore this summer, but we’re focused today on a serious mission: keeping the good times safe for our teens and young people,” Chiesa said. “Simply put, I consider underage drinking a threat to the health and well-being of our youth in New Jersey.”
The keystone of the Shore efforts is the “Cops in Shops” program, which is run by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“Cops in Shops” is a program designed by the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers. 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. The New Jersey Cops in Shops program is recognized nationally as a successful program.
“One Shore teenager told us that it was common for her and her friends to wait outside a liquor store for a sympathetic adult to buy them alcohol. She called this ‘Going Fishing,’” Chiesa said. “My message for those teens and adults of a similar mind is this: Simply don’t do it.”