A 17-year-old reportedly “hired to strip and socialize” with bar patrons touched off an investigation that ended with Park Place Bar and Grill’s license getting suspended for 50 days, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Thursday.
The control board implicated three adults, including a West Deptford man, in plying the teen with alcohol to “loosen her up,” investigators said.
The investigation began in February 2011 when alcoholic control board officials visited the National Park bar. There, investigators reportedly found bartender Melissa Armstrong, of Marlton, serving the teenager drinks, including Long Island ice teas and Bay Breeze cocktails.
Armstrong told investigators her bosses, Donald Rossiter Sr., of National Park, and Donald Rossiter Jr., of West Deptford, directed her to serve the teenager as much alcohol as the girl wanted. The teenager was paid for her stripping and socializing with alcohol.
“This was an egregious abuse of the privilege to sell alcohol. The potential for illegal activity resulting from serving alcoholic beverages to a 17-year-old girl may have been averted only by the presence of ABC personnel,” said Michael Halfacre, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control director. “This case was particularly troubling because the licensee used alcohol to exploit a minor for financial gain.”
The bar’s license suspension began on Dec. 18 and will last for 50 days. The bar’s phone number was disconnected Thursday morning and the Rossiters could not be reached for comment.
Rossiter Jr. is a part owner of the bar and employs his father in a management capacity, according to the control board. Rossiter Sr., Rossiter Jr. and Armstrong were all arrested and charged with serving alcohol to an underage person.
The 17-year-old was also charged with drinking alcohol underage and was released into her father’s custody.
Park Place Bar and Grill’s legal troubles didn’t end there. Investigators arrested and charged two other underage drinkers—Richard Jackson Jr., of Westville, and Dustin Patterson, of National Park—at the bar that night. Plus, Park Place Bar and Grill employees admitted to purchasing alcohol from a nearby liquor store to sell at the bar in violation of state alcohol laws.