Liquor, Bribery, Strip Club, Oh My!

Categories: Food Industry
Strip Club RZ.jpg
Via Flickr Thomas Hawk
Things are not always as they appear.
When reading an article on the Sun Sentinel's website this morning, we were excited to see words like 'liquor,' 'bribery,' and 'strip club' jump out at us. We read on, expecting a sordid corruption case involving strippers, booze, and cash. What we got, however, was more along the plot lines of a Saved by the Bell episode.

The tale involves one allegedly dirty agent from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (ABT), a Mr. Karlos Barnes, who is under investigation for accepting bribes. He investigated Cheetah strip club, which was shut down last year after cops arrested 19 people for drugs and prostitution.

Two of Barnes's ABT supervisors on that case now work for the attorney  who represented Cheetah during that time. Said attorney hired a female private investigator to follow Barnes, who apparently likes to hang out at bars, drink himself silly, and flirt with women. He then "allegedly" likes to look their info up on the DMV database. That is probably the most serious offense that has been thrown at him. But I've known plenty of decent people who research potential dates on government databases. Is he creepy? Maybe, but then again, aren't most government employees?

Oh, and the alleged bribe? Barnes good friend, Jamie McDonnel, multi-millionaire and owner of the now-defunct Weston bar, Fresh, gave him a watch. This is based on the testimony of the female private investigator who said that Barnes told her of the gift. She also said that Barnes didn't pay for food or drinks while at Fresh. Oh Lord! This gets more boring by the minute. Anyone ever try to impress a girl before?

You'd think ABT would have something better to do, like lower the drinking age or institute mandatory happy hours.

Finally there's the "array of allegations" mentioned by the Sun Sentinel. He asked "ABT agents if they could 'spot' him money for lunch." Oh yeah, and he made "comments that Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to become an independent would affect leadership in the agency." We've borrowed lunch money on occasion and we also have political opinions. Oh-oh, slap some handcuffs on us and throw us in the pokey!

My message to state agents: Let this scumbag go. Stop wasting our tax money.

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