"You ever been shot?" Kulpmont council leader charged after alleged threat to LCE agent
KULPMONT - Borough Council President Bruno Varano allegedly asked a Pennsylvania liquor control agent, "You ever been shot?," when she served notice of a violation at the club he manages.
Varano, 60, of 34 S. 10th St., was charged last week with disorderly conduct and "unlawful acts relative to liquor, malt and brewed beverages" in response to the early morning incident Aug. 3 at the Jan Sobieski Club, 10th and Scott streets.
Officer Jannell M. Wilt of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement's Williamsport office said in court papers she entered the club at 2 a.m. She said there were 70 patrons and three bartenders, two females and a male. All three bartenders were 20 years old; the male was identified as Cody Shustack.
At 2:37 a.m., Wilt alleged Shustack took a bottle of Dr. McGillicuddy's menthol mint schnapps and began making motions like he was preparing to take a drink; the two females laughed. Wilt said Shustack then began to drink from the bottle. Wilt said Varano was about 15 feet away had a direct line of sight to Shustack's actions.
Wilt said she left the bar at 2:45 a.m. with 25 patrons still inside and tried to make contact with state police to re-enter the club. She came back to the bar at 3:13 a.m. and went to the side entrance, which was locked. She said she knocked on the door and could hear voices inside but no one answered. After knocking again and announcing she was a member of the state police, Varano answered the door and stated, "You ever been shot?"
Wilt informed Varano she was with liquor enforcement, but Varano said she was not permitted inside.
The officer entered the bar with four uniformed Kulpmont police officers and began notifying Varano of the underage drinking violation she said she observed. Varano became agitated, saying, "He's allowed, he is tending bar!" Wilt said. Pennsylvania law allows bartenders to serve alcohol at age 18, but anyone in the state must be 21 to consume or purchase alcohol, Wilt said.
Wilt said that as she tried to explain the violation, Varano continued to yell that Shustack was allowed to drink because he was tending bar. Police officers removed Varano from the club in order to calm the situation, Wilt reported.
Wilt spoke to Shustack about the citation and requested his identification, but Shustack said he didn't have it on him. Varano re-entered the club and approached Wilt. She told him that, operating in an undercover capacity, she observed Shustack consume alcohol while tending bar. Shustack then said, "Prove it!" while Varano was still agitated, continuing to assert the 20-year-old was allowed to consume alcohol while tending bar, Wilt said.
Kulpmont officers again informed Varano he had to calm down and had him step away from Wilt, according to her account.
Shustack was cited for underage drinking, but was also charged with consumption of alcohol while tending bar and escape, both misdemeanors. Wilt's documents do not explain why he is charged with escape.
Varano and Shustack are scheduled for preliminary hearings on their cases on Wednesday, Nov. 25, before Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones, Mount Carmel.
A call to Varano's cell phone for comment was not returned Monday.