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Judge upholds tip jar fines

November 21, 1996

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

An administrative law judge has upheld a Washington County Gaming Commission decision to fine a local tavern owner and pull the tip jar license as a result of gambling infractions.

In a Wednesday ruling, Judge Dale McCloud upheld fines totaling $27,000 against the New Delmar Inn on U.S. 40 west of Hagerstown.

In addition, the tavern's tip jar license has been suspended for 270 days.

"I went out and picked up the license Thursday,'' said Kathy Sterling, gaming commission coordinator.

As a result, the tavern cannot sell tip jars for the next 270 days, even if an appeal is filed, Sterling said. Only a court-ordered stay would affect the license suspension, she said.

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A telephone call to tavern owner David Nigh wasn't returned.

McCloud found that the New Delmar violated gaming rules on 18 occasions by purchasing tip jar packets that didn't have the gaming commission stickers affixed at the time of purchase.

Each of those 18 violations resulted in a fine of $1,500 and a 15-day suspension.

The hearing that determined the violations was held in late August.

"We will be taking an appeal to Washington County Circuit Court,'' said Kent Krabbe, attorney for the New Delmar.

Krabbe said the judge was clearly wrong in his decision.

"Also the degree of penalties in this case is grossly disproportionate and unfair,'' Krabbe said.

In June, the same law judge upheld a $13,125 fine against Peck's Tavern in Williamsport.

It couldn't be determined whether Peck's appealed that decision, but Sterling said Thursday they were no longer selling tip jars.

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