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Heileman to halt prosecution of plant protesters against PowerMaster.

Heileman to halt prosecution of plant protesters against PowerMaster

G. Heileman Brewing Co. asked a judge to cancel the fines against two clergymen who were arrested while protesting the company's PowerMaster malt liquor.

The two Chicago clergymen were fined after failing to appear in municipal court. They were absent, they said, because they'd been told Heileman decided not to press charges.

That's apparently what Heileman had told the clergymen but forgot to tell police, the city attorney and even its own security office.

Michael Evans, Heileman senior vice president, said he contacted Municipal Judge Robert Joanis late last week and was assured the clergymen's convictions would be vacated.

Earlier in the day, Joanis fined the Revs. George Clements and Michael Pfleger $85 each on trespassing charges.

The were arrested June 26 after refusing to leave the lobby of Heileman headquarters. Clements and Pfleger were protesting advertising that critics said Heileman had developed for promoting PowerMaster beer in inner-city neighborhoods that already have problems with excessive drinking.

"The whole PowerMaster issue is behind us," Evans said after calling Joanis, "and there is no reason to pursue these things any more."

Clements and Pfleger had been told to appear in court at 2 p.m. Policeman Michael Abraham and Heileman security chief Ray Lichtie were waiting to testify.

Neither clergyman showed up. Joanis found them guilty by default and ordered them to pay their fines within 30 days.

Pfleger said in a telephone call from Chicago he was told that the charges would be dropped. Lichtie said he hadn't heard that, nor had City Attorney Thomas Jones.

"Evidently that word did not get to the judge," Evans said.
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Title Annotation:G. Heileman Brewing Co. drops charges against clergymen
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Sep 2, 1991
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