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Spitzer Reaches Settlement with Liquor Distributors

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced the results of an investigation Wednesday into illegal marketing practices by wine and liquor wholesalers in New York.

At a news conference at his Buffalo office, Spitzer said the wholesalers have agreed to pay more than $1.5 million in penalties. He says they also agreed to stop ignoring regulations surrounding the sale of wine and liquor.

The investigation was launched last October. Spitzer said liquor manufacturers and wholesalers were providing favored retailers with special treatment. He says such practices are now restricted or prohibited outright. He says transparency has been increased so that all liquor stores have access to the same pricing information.

Spitzer was joined at the news conference by the new chairman of the State Liquor Authority, Daniel Boyle, who took over the agency in February. He admits the SLA investigators had neglected certain duties.

Steve Glamuzina, president of the Empire Liquor Store Association and proprietor of Georgetown Square Wine and Liquor in Williamsville, said as many as one thousand small liquor stores were forced to close because of the unfair competition.

Officials at Eber Brothers, a regional wholesaler, declined to comment.

Spitzer says the investigation continues of retail liquor stores which may have engaged in the illegal practices.