Fairview charges dropped
SHAMOKIN - Gambling and liquor law violations filed against Fairview Gun Club in 2011 have been withdrawn by the Northumberland County District Attorney's Office after a preliminary hearing in the case had been continued multiple times.
The misdemeanor charges filed by Officer Scott D. Berdine of the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement were withdrawn Tuesday at the office of Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Toomey said an agreement was reached with club officials to withdraw the charges if they made a "good faith effort" to obtain a club liquor license that would allow them to sell alcohol at the premises at 4000 W. State St., Coal Township. Toomey said club officials attempted several times to obtain a club liquor license, but there was none available.
The assistant district attorney said the club remains operational, but cannot sell alcohol or conduct gambling until they acquire the proper licenses.
James R. Williams, 80, of Coal Township, who was president of Fairview Gun Club when the charges were filed, also was charged by Berdine with gambling and liquor violations. Williams, who had no prior criminal record, successfully completed the county's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in 2012, which expunges from his record charges of unlawful use of illegal gambling devices and two counts of unlawful acts relative to malt or brewed beverages and licenses.
Attorney Marc Lieberman of Elysburg represented the gun club and Williams.
Lieberman, who noted Williams is a decorated Korean War veteran, said the club complied with all of the requirements set by the district attorney's office and state police, and expected to acquire a license but none was available.
Williams and the organization were charged in July 2011 following an undercover investigation by the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. The charges were filed in connection with a July 18, 2011, incident at Fairview Gun Club, where Berdine saw four people playing poker for money and a fifth person was playing a video slot machine and a board listing the names of winners of daily small games of chance drawings, but no license was posted at the premises.
The officer said he saw a tap system with five types of beer available, glasses and two stand-up coolers filled with canned and bottled beer, along with an open table drawer with money in it. On the bar was a table-top video slot machine.
On June 15, 2011, another officer met with Williams at his home, where he told police about the club's operation, selling beer and having the gambling devices, according to the LCE. Williams consented to a search of the club, and officers seized two video gambling devices, a six-card gambling device, the kegs, bottles and cans of beer, $966 in currency and miscellaneous documents.