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South Carolina ABCC tickets distributor.

Jack Mullinax, a South Carolina beer distributor who helped convict a former state liquor commission chairman on corruption charges, has been ticketed for illegally giving away free beer and wine coolers.

An Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission enforcement agent cited Mullinax, the president of Western Beverage Co. in Taylors, for the administrative violation January 12, The (Columbia) State newspaper reported.

Mullinax could be fined or lose his license to sell beer if the ABCC finds he violated rules.

But Mullinax said all beer distributors gave away complimentary alcohol.

"I've given enough beer and wine away to fill up one hell of a big jury room, but I don't ask for anything in return," said Mullinax, a state highway commission member. "They may be singling me out here."

With Mullinax as a key witness, Solicitor Dick Harpootlian successfully prosecuted former ABCC Chairman Wilbur Hodge in November for illegally soliciting and receiving alcohol from Mullinax and lying about it to the grand jury.

Mullinax admitted in court that he gave 18 cases of beer and wine to Hodge for a wedding party.

Harpootlian said he chose not to prosecute Mullinax because the probe's focus was on the ABCC.

The solicitor said he had been contacted by attorney John O'leary, who represents Mullinax, about intervening in the ABCC's case on behalf of the beer wholesaler. Harpootlian said he never made a deal with Mullinax in exchange for his testimony.

"If they (ABC staff) want to sanction him administratively, that's their business," Harpootlian said. "Certainly from an administrative standpoint, they've got a lot of room to maneuver."

Joe Dorton, the ABCC's enforcement chief, said his staff had little choice in dealing with Mullinax.

"To do nothing would be a dereliction" of duty, Dorton said.

It is against ABCC regulations for a wholesaler to deliver beer or wine to anyone other than a licensed retailer. State law also forbids the exchange of gifts between a business and anyone who regulates it.
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Title Annotation:Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission fines Jack Mullinax for alcoholic beverage giveaways
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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