The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which controls every last drop of alcohol that crosses in and out of Pennsylvania state lines, is in a bit of hot water. The Philadelphia Inquirer just released a report showing multiple high-ranking officials in the organization accepting gifts from vendors that included golf outings, tickets to sporting events, free wine and liquor for events, and even job opportunities for family members. The three gentlemen named in the report are CEO Joe Conti, board member Patrick J. "P.J." Stapleton III (at one time, Stapleton was the LCB Chairman), and marketing director James Short.
Capital Wine and Spirits arranged golf outings for Stapleton, including a round with a pro during last summer's AT&T National Pro-Am at Aronimink Golf Club. Capital also provided $1,700 worth of liquor for the annual Keystone Weekend, which is organized for civic leaders to discuss new ideas for the future. In an attempt to one-up their competition, Majestic Wine & Spirits hired Beard-winning chef Michael Solomonov to prepare dinner for the same event.
Conti and his wife Molli were frequent guests of the vendors in suites at the Philadelphia Union and Philadelphia Phillies, and no evidence indicates that either of them had ever paid for tickets. One of Conti's aides spent a good amount of time trying to secure jobs for Conti's daughter and brother, including pressing super-restaurateur Stephen Starr for a gig in his empire.
In the same email, Conti wrote: "On the business front, I would love to revisit the opportunity for a wine boutique in one of your future properties. Team PLCB could be [a] dependable partner...And thank you for reading the info from a proud father in regards to his daughter"
Looks like the case for liquor privatization just got a much-needed shot in the arm for the cause. This dirty info matches up well with the recent investigation on some LCB folks who spent way too much time on "nonwork pursuits" while on company time paid by your tax dollars.