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The state warns Wegmans in liquorice: Multiple breaches and we will revoke licenses (see)

Paying more than $ 1 million in fines sounds like a bad scenario for any business.

But in the New York case of illegal activity by Wegmans Food Markets and five associated liquor stores, it may get worse.

State Science Commission commissioners issued stringent warnings to the major Rochester-based grocery chain and the five stores operated by various Wegmans family members during a new board meeting on November 19th.

"Next time, licenses will be taken." SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said at a time during the meeting at SLA's New York City office. He told the lawyer of the Wegmans markets: "This only goes up here, exponentially next time."

The state accuses Wegmans of illegal control of the five liquor stores by managing operations such as buying, shopping with wholesalers and appreciating. The shops are in Syracuse suburb of DeWitt; buffalo; Rochester; Rochester suburb of Pittsford; and Johnson City near Binghamton. All members are members of the Wegmans family, and are located near Wegman's food markets.

In a specific case decided at the meeting of November 1[ads1]9, a science dealer Westchester County paid a $ 225,000 fine to allow Wegmans to "use the privilege"

State law prohibits grocery stores to buy or sell wine and liquor and prohibits Also "chain" liquors and wine dealers that require that each store is licensed to another person or individuals and operates independently.

Wegmans and the five liquor stores did not dispute the case and paid fines. The Wegmans markets issued a statement afterwards, refusing to control the five liquor stores.

A key moment during the hearing on November 19, when a lawyer, Laura Schwalbe from Buffalo, arrived at the commissioners. She told them she was there to represent all five "independent" liquor stores.

The commissioners were skeptical.

"I find it problematic that even in these stages, these five stores are a kind of being represented together and are being treated together in one party," says SLA Commissioner Lily Fan. "It's hard for me to believe that these The five wine shops will not work together. "

Bradley said the same and warned.

" I agree with Commissioner Fan that all this set up calls for this to happen again, "Bradley told Schwalbe. "I would suggest that … you go back to all these companies and make sure it does not happen because next time there will be licenses taken."

SLA has the opportunity to suspend or revoke licenses to sell liquor. [19659015] Wegmans Store at 3195 Monroe Ave., Pittsford, NY.

Wegman's market was represented at the meeting of another lawyer, Stephen Van Arsdale, the company's general adviser. He told the commissioners that the company has developed a "compliance" plan to ensure that it remains within the law. The company paid $ 750,000, but another $ 500,000 could be imposed if Wegmans failed to comply.

Bradley told Van Arsdale The SLA office receives more complaints about Wegmans than almost all other companies in the state. This case involving Wegmans and liquor stores began with a complaint lodged against the Amherst St. Vin & Liquors store in Buffalo.

Bradley told Van Arsdale that Wegmans is "on the list – the one I get the most phone calls because. Most of your competitors are watching you every day like a hawk. And they call (trade) associations and associations call me. it costs you a lot of money. I'm sure you're fully aware that this only goes up from here, exponentially next time. "

When Schwalbe later told Bradley that the staff at the five liquor stores were in accordance with training, he thought to cut her off

"They are all related to Wegmans. Let's be honest," said Bradley. "The training – they do what they were told by Wegmans, I'm sure. They must be a little more independent – much more independent – in the future and say no. Because next time we & # 39; I take all five of them (licenses). I do not take these phone calls anymore from people who tell me that this happens, and then we find and confirm that it is happening and that it has apparently been on for a while. Bradley also had tough words before Milton's distribution of Westchester County, the company accused Wegmans of using the license to sell wine and liquor.

"This is pretty bad," Bradley said. "They Milton's was initially used as a farmer. "

As with Wegmans, a further fine against Milton is suspended as long as the company is free from problems. Milton's lawyer told the commissioners that a plan had been agreed to comply with the state act so that there would be no problem in the future.

"Good," Bradley said, "because if that is, it will not be a future. "

Wegmans Food Markets paid $ 750,000 to settle eight costs. The five liquor stores paid fines of $ 75,000 each. The total paid was $ 1.125 million.

The five liquor stores involved in the case are:

– Liquor City in DeWitt, licensed to Christopher & Donnell, husband of Wegman's President Colleen Wegmans and son-in-law of company leader Danny Wegman.

– Amherst St. Wines & Liquors in Buffalo. Danny Wegman's daughter Nicole is on the license there

– Pittsford Century Wines & Spirits in Rochester. Danny Wegman has it licensed.

– Whitehouse Liquor & Wine in Rochester. Danny Wegmans Niece, Erin Brooks, owns the license.

– Johnson City Liquor & Wine in Johnson City. Danny Wegman's son-in-law Jason Wehle is on this license.

The state did not find that the ownership of liquor stores by Wegman's family members violated the law of themselves. The charges are based on accusations of how Wegma ns managed or controlled stores.

Wegmans disputed these charges.

"What these stores have in common is that each one is owned by a Wegman family member and every owner is trying to run his shop as we drive Wegmans, with low prices, wide variety and good service," said Wegman's statement on case. "It's unfortunate that SLA chose to credit complaints from competitors of these liquor stores over the actual facts that were presented to them during the survey."

Don Cazentre writes about crafts of beer, wine, spirits and drinks for, and The Post-Standard. Get him at or follow him on at Twitter or Facebook [19659037].

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