Mr. Qarmout & the Case of the Liquor License Transfer

There is nothing more spectacular than bad luck at a crucial juncture in time. Just ask King Ralph (an average American Las Vegas entertainer who somehow becomes the King of Great Britain). At a lavish state dinner in Buckingham Palace, King Ralph manages to destroy the decorum of the table by failing to properly carve the squab on his plate  (fast forward to the 1:40 mark for the mayhem). He was later consoled by Sir Cedric who noted that it was “Spectacularly bad luck, your Majesty…could have happened to anyone.” Indeed.

In the present case, pretty much the same thing on a bureaucratic scale – minus the squab and wine glasses – happened to Bader Qarmout, candidate for the Republican nomination for  U.S. Senate, as he was in the process of transferring the liquor license for O’Reilly’s Pub & Grille from his name to an associate.

All of the necessary paperwork had been filed with the attorneys and the authorities in Newton, who, in turn, forwarded that paperwork to Trenton. Among the items in the attorney transfer files was the actual liquor license certificate – which is ordinarily displayed in the bar.

Insofar as the transfer of a liquor license is a common transaction in the adult beverage industry, Mr. Qarmout didn’t think twice about assuming that the transfer was a fait accompli and therefore permitted the associate to represent himself as the owner of the liquor license. Unfortunately – and here is where the troublesome squab comes in – glitches in the processing of the paperwork brought the application to an abrupt halt as Trenton demanded another round of paperwork. While all of this was transpiring, an inspector from the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control sauntered into O’Reilly’s for an unannounced inspection.

And here is where Rob Eichmann – who represents Gloucester County on the New Jersey GOP State Committee and is a featured blogger at a purportedly conservative website  – picks up the ball, runs it past the end zone and drops it straight into the nearest septic tank.

Yesterday afternoon, I spent time in the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  Utilizing the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) I was able to obtain “Conservative Republican” Bader Qarmout’s history and lack of compliance with the laws in New Jersey regulating liquor license holders.

Bader doesn’t have a couple of ticky tack violations.  Bader has violations that appear to have the New Jersey Attorney General’s office moving to revoke his liquor license.

Among the major violations, all currently not resolved, and all currently open are:

1)  Undisclosed Interest (Bader tried to hide his partners in the bar operation)

2)  False Answers on a License Application

3)  Failure to notify of change in corporate structure

4)  Failure to notify of change in facts

5)  No current long/short license application

6)  No current long/short license application

7)  Off premises storage of alcoholic beverages

8)  Sale beyond the scope

9)  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome poster

10) Hindering an investigation by an employee

11) Hindering an investigation by an employee

12) Failed to produce invoices within seven days

13) License certificate not conspicuously displayed

14) Failure to maintain/produce true books

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office currently classifies this licensee as “pending suspension or revocation”.

Here’s the problem for Eichmann: the license is intact and is not “pending suspension or revocation” (more on this later).

The story underlying the violations cited by Rockin’ Robbo is, as usual, sufficiently nuanced to survive the swings of an ax that might better have been the gentle teasing of a probe. But then, when was Rob Eichmann EVER interested in uncovering the truth? In Rob Eichmann’s universe, “vetting” is a euphemism for “character assassination.”

Let the light of investigative journalism shine where the thuggery of political vandalism continues to leave a path of senseless destruction: to date, Eichmann has yet to converse with Qarmout regarding any of the horrifically “anti-Conservative” actions he charges the candidate with having committed and it will come as no surprise to the informed reader that Der Eichmeister will continue to ignore the facts and deploy his usual arsenal of distortion, half-truths and outright fabrication.

That said, what are we to make of the litany of violations brought against Bader Qarmout?

1)  Undisclosed Interest (Bader tried to hide his partners in the bar operation)

Not quite. Because it was in the process of  being transferred to an associate, Bader’s license was in a sort of legal limbo and there was no way of knowing on the day the inspector showed up if the transfer had become a matter of law. The associate was previously authorized to present himself as the owner of the establishment – which he fully expected to be when the paperwork in Newton and Trenton was completed. Unfortunately, on the day the inspector showed up, the transfer had not yet become a legal reality.

It is from this singular infraction that most of the other citations follow.

2)  False Answers on a License Application

This pertains to the associate’s claim that he was the owner of the bar when, in fact, the paperwork was still being processed.

3)  Failure to notify of change in corporate structure

The “change in corporate structure” referred to is the license transfer itself, of which the state official was unaware when he inspected the premises.

4)  Failure to notify of change in facts

Notification was made of the license transfer along with the change in the name of the licensee, but the inspector was unaware of these facts at the time of the visit.

5)  No current long/short license application; 6)  No current long/short license application

At that point in time the long form application was in the attorney’s files and not on the premises.

7)  Off premises storage of alcoholic beverages

Every establishment with a liquor license must submit an “alcohol blueprint,” so to speak, of those areas of the premises where alcoholic beverages are either served or stored. In this case, the inspector observed alcoholic beverages stored in a closet a few feet off of the “blueprint.”

8)  Sale beyond the scope

The inspector observed that a few tables and chairs were located outside the “blueprint.”

9)  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome poster

The state of New Jersey requires that every business establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages conspicuously display a poster warning about the dangers of fetal alcohol syndrome. Mr. Qarmout believed that it made sense to place the poster in the ladies’ rest room where, of course, pregnant women (the only people threatened by this malady) would see it. The inspector didn’t agree with this logic.

Frankly, I’m surprised that Rob Eichmann – who posits himself as the paragon and arbiter of all things Conservative – didn’t find this particular citation objectionable. Bad enough New Jersey intrudes on a citizen’s private enterprise with its nanny state agenda – as if most women today aren’t aware that alcohol is a no-no when pregnant- worse yet, it insists on determining the precise location in the establishment where the poster must be displayed.

Then again, this is a real-life scenario involving the principles of Movement Conservatism which, for the dim-witted but very determined Rob Eichmann, is little more than handy means to a political end.

10) Hindering an investigation by an employee; 11) Hindering an investigation by an employee

Because the associate in question was not the owner of record at that point in time, the inspector cited him for lying.

12) Failed to produce invoices within seven days

A small percentage of the vendor invoices were addressed to Bader Qarmout by name while most were addressed to O’Reilly’s Pub & Grille. The inspector insisted on accepting only those invoices directed to Bader Qarmout, since his name was on the license.

13) License certificate not conspicuously displayed

Guilty as charged: the certificate was in a folder in the lawyers’ offices.

14) Failure to maintain/produce true books

Any establishment that serves alcoholic beverages must maintain a separate and complete record – including addresses, telephone numbers, and so forth – of all bartenders employed there. The management of O’Reilly’s neglected to do this.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen…Bader Qarmout’s liquor license sins laid bare for the world to see. Thing is, what you have witnessed is neither singular nor unique for this kind of business. Ask any owner of a pub, tavern, bar (or any establishment that serves booze) about the Alcohol and Beverage Commission, its myriad regulations and its surprise inspection visits – and you will find yourself begging for a drink after you’ve had your ear chewed for an hour.

Today I contacted the good folks at the Alcoholic Beverage Commission and they pretty much confirmed what the owner of any bar, tavern or pub already knows and has most likely experienced: the ABC has myriad regulations governing the ownership of a liquor license and the operation of an establishment that sells or serves alcoholic beverages; the list of infractions is a sizable one and breaks down roughly into “technical” infractions and “substantive” infractions.

The former involve such matters as the placement of a fetal alcohol poster, the location of the license certificate, where the alcoholic beverages are stored, and so forth. Among the 9,000 establishments that sell or serve alcohol in the Garden State, the vast majority will very likely be cited for at least one – if not several – technical infractions. In most cases, these types of infractions incur fines of varying amounts and do not generally result in the forfeiture of the liquor license unless the number and repetition of the infractions is excessive.

The latter involve more serious matters, such as serving alcohol to minors, overextended operation hours, creating a noise nuisance, bar fights and so forth. These infractions often incur heavy fines and can result in the forfeiture of the license.

Unfortunately, these realities are of no concern to quasi-conservative Alinskyites like Rob Eichmann.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office currently classifies this licensee as “pending suspension or revocation”.

ABSOLUTELY FALSE. The case was resolved in December of last year. Taking full responsibility as the licensee of record for the infractions cited by the inspector, Bader Qarmout settled the matter non vult contendere in an agreement with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The liquor license for O’Reilly’s Pub & Grille remains intact and the establishment continues to serve the public.

Now that you have heard what the late Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story,” I urge you to review the screeds published against Mr. Qarmout on this issue by Rob Eichmann on a website that claims to be the megaphone of “common sense conservatism” in New Jersey and ask yourself: are these idiots for real and are they truly the face of Movement Conservatism in New Jersey?

You be the judge.

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2 Responses to Mr. Qarmout & the Case of the Liquor License Transfer

  1. Barb says:

    My, my, MY, my, my….if ONLY Mr. Qarmout had the respectful, decent, professional, wordly, kind, considerate, generous personality that Rob Eichmann has. Tsk, tsk. He really could learn a thing or two from Mr. Eichmann. Just read his blog. It’s so refreshingly enlightening. Really Mr. Qarmout, have you learned nothing from all your attacks from Eichmann? I have. I am now no longer a slut, prostitute, racist, cult leader, or RINO lover. Let me know if you need an intervention…..I will try to contact Mr. Eichmann and his wee buddies.

  2. 1Prop says:

    Looks like LIBERAL Rob Eichmann and his buddy boy Wee Winnkler don’t have anything constructive to do with their time. Anyone who has tried to deal with the NJ ABC (which I have) knows that they are the pentultimate nitpickers who go out of their way to find reasons to fine license-holders and it takes months – even years to get them to make a decision, particularly when they have to admit that they were wrong.

    LIBERAL Rob Eichmann and his candidate LIBERAL Joe Kyrillos must really be scared for them to go to these lengths. Let’s face it, if they were conservative Republicans, they would adhere to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment. Again, proof that they are LIBERAL’S.