Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Poorly Selected PLCB Chairman Resurfaces, Again Peddling Questionable Wine Deals

Jonathan Newman, a failed political candidate with no apparent experience in the liquor industry, landed a politically inspired appointment to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board consequent to a family fortune sculpted from nose jobs performed for Philadelphia's well-heeled but poorly proboscissed (Dr. Julius Newman's cash also paved the route Newman's mother followed to a spot on the state Supreme Court). Young Newman then complained about "heavy-handed politics" at the Board while quitting consequent to a dispute over another political appointment.

As a PLCB member, Newman ignored the public interest -- and in particular did nothing about the emergence of Pittsburgh's South Side as a deadly, liquor-soaked cesspool -- because he was too busy "cultivating relationships and friendships" with liquor industry players, who rewarded him with a nice set-up in the wine business after Newman quit the PLCB. (Newman's wine industry friends had profited handsomely from misleading "discount" pricing practices, introduced by Newman, that probably would have generated a consumer fraud investigation had the scammer not been a government agency.)

Newman is back in the public eye, peddling the liquor store privatization program pushed by Rep. Mike Turzai. Reasonable arguments support closure of the Commonwealth's monopoly on wine and spirits sold by the bottle. They would be easier to swallow if the loudest voices in the debate so far -- Turzai, Newman, the Post-Gazette editorialists, hackneyed ideologues masquerading as experts, buggy whip peddlers -- were not so distasteful.

While awaiting a voice for the public interest to join the table, Pennsylvanians should stick with a glass of water, or perhaps have a beer.

(Speaking of taste, some wine fanciers seem unimpressed by Newman's nose for vintages.)

Infytune: Spill The Wine, Eric Burdon and War

14 comments:

Joe Q Reader said...

I have a serious question. If the City Paper and Infynonymous can put together connect the dots stories like this, why can't the Post Gazette or the Trib or the other so called real newspapers? The City Paper has a fraction of the budget, Infy is some schlub sitting in a basement somewhere typing while eating Cheetohs *no offense*, what is up here????

Infinonymous said...

Dear Joe Q Reader:

Thank you for the kind words.

For the record, we do not like Cheetos. We prefer a mix of craisins, cashews, diced dried apricot, dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, walnuts, dried cherries, shelled pistachios, and pecans.

As of today, we call it "Schlub Mix."

Anonymous said...

You're blowing your cover Infy. I found an East End Co-Op receipt over the weekend listing exactly those items. Beth Pittinger's phone number was scrawled on the back.

Infinonymous said...

We never purchase all of the ingredients from a single store or in a single purchase, for precisely this reason.

Anonymous said...

I'm typically not a fan of this site, but this is outrageous. How is the press not exploiting that this guy would benefit from privatizing?

Infinonymous said...

How could we improve Infinonymous?

Maria Lupinacci said...

Great reporting, but as a resident and homeowner on the South Side, I must say that the characterization of it as a "deadly, liquor-soaked cesspool" is -- oh, I don't know -- a tad harsh. I know you're trying to make a point, and I've blogged about the problems there myself, but if I was going to guess who you are based solely on this post, I'd have to go with farmhand on Green Acres.

Anonymous said...

I didn't imagine such a clean-cut young man, but perhaps ...
http://www.gollymisterdouglas.com/bio/bio.html

Infinonymous said...

Hello, Maria

We believe (1) the drunken driving toll -- death, maiming -- supports "deadly," (2) the number of public urination arrests -- and criminal enerprises -- justifies "cesspool," and (3) the number of nuisance bars and overall liquor licenses screams "liquor-soaked." Even the fancier establishments, like Hofbrauhaus and Diesel, are severe problems.

(Both Hofbrauhaus and Diesel customers have killed people while driving drunk after getting liquored up in questionable quantities, by the way. And the PLCB issued another liquor license to Diesel's operators after Diesel's deadly drunken driving incident.)

You perceive harshness, we see accuracy concerning problems that InsolvenCity ignores at its peril. (Some council members are trying to protect citizens and reasonable business owners, but the mayor is working overtime to thwart council and to protect nuisance bar operators and criminals.)

We stand by "deadly, liquor-soaked cesspool" with respect to Carson Street until someone provides persuasive evidence to the contrary.

Sah' Side N 'At said...

Infy is right, long as you don't drag places 10 blocks away into this. Carson St is completely out of control.

Maria Lupinacci said...

"As a PLCB member, Newman ignored the public interest -- and in particular did nothing about the emergence of Pittsburgh's South Side as a deadly, liquor-soaked cesspool..." [emphasis added]

Well, if "Carson Street" was what was meant, perhaps that should have been what was written instead of denigrating an entire neighborhood.

Infinonymous said...

Carson Street is the location of nearly all of the problem drinking and nuisance bars. The damage inflicted on the community spreads into South Side residential areas, extending a few blocks from Carson Street. Neither "Carson Street" nor "South Side" describes the extent of the problem precisely, so using Carson Street would have been at least as appropriate.

Anonymous said...

The Post Gazette is pimping for private liquor stores (ie, advertisers), no way they will give their readers the actual facts like with this Newman guy. I am for selling the state stores by the way but people deserve to know the facts.

Caesar said...

I have reason to believe that the owners of the Post-Gazette plan to purchase one or more of the liscenses if privitaztion goes through. Would that constitute a conflict of journalistic interest?