Former PLCB Official Facing Federal Charges
The good news is that the PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB) went nearly four months without making the news for a public corruption story. The bad news is that a former Marketing Director is now facing federal charges for allegedly taking bribes and kickbacks. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, James Short, Jr. accepted cash, sports tickets and all-expense-paid trips from a distiller and liquor wholesaler. The trips included two golf trips to Bonita Springs, Florida on a chartered private jet.
Considering that the PLCB is one of the world’s largest buyers of alcohol and Short’s job was deciding what products to carry and how heavily to market the products, it should not surprise anyone that businesses sought to influence his decision. Short had the power to singlehandedly ruin businesses. Those businesses found ways to ensure that Short made decisions favorable to their bottom line.
Pennsylvania’s Prohibition-era liquor sales system is a breeding ground for crony capitalism and corruption. Any time a system depends on having the "right" person in charge, i.e. someone who is incorruptible, it is a recipe for disaster. As we have repeatedly stated, until the free market decides what products are available in the state, the danger of corruption exists and violations of the state and federal laws will continue to pile up.