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Lynn M. Walding, Administrator


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 e - NEWS

October 10, 2003


1.  Bars Fined for Selling to Underage Patrons

2.  US: Coors Moves Incorporation to Delaware

3.  State Files Lawsuit Against Mail-Order Tobacco Company

4.  Wal-Mart to Clamp Down on Tobacco Sales to Minors

5.  Miller Leads Beer Companies in Spending on Lobbying

6.  Carter Lake to Contest Proposed Mexican Restaurant in Court


1. Bars Fined for Selling to Underage Patrons

Iowa City Press-Citizen

October 4, 2003


The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division fined three Iowa City bars $500 apiece for selling alcohol to underage people.


Employees at the three bars were caught selling or supplying alcohol to underage people.  The three bar employees are:


Bradley Michael Tarr, an employee at McInnerneys, 161 W. Highway 1, on March 13; David Benjamin Knight, an employee at Martini’s, 127 E. College St., on april 12; and Marc Ashley Cendana, of the Sports Column, 12 S. Dubuque St, on May 31.


All bars are first time violators of selling alcohol to underage patrons.





2. US: Coors Moves Incorporation to Delaware

Source: just-drinks.com editorial team 

October 6, 2003



Shareholders of Adolph Coors have voted to approve a proposal that will result in the company changing its place of incorporation from Colorado to Delaware.  More than 28 million shares voted in favor of the measure (80% of outstanding shares).


“We’re pleased with the outcome of this vote,” said Peter Coors, Chairman of Adolph Coors Company.  “This change will be beneficial to the company and its shareholders through obtaining the benefits of Delaware’s comprehensive, widely used and extensively interpreted corporate law.”


The company said the reincorporation is anticipated to become effective today, and will not result in any jobs changes.




3.  State Files Lawsuit Against Mail-Order Tobacco Company

Sioux City Journal Online Edition

September 27, 2003


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The state of Iowa has filed a lawsuit against a company that officials say fraudulently advertised tax-free tobacco products that were sold by mail.

Smokers Warehouse Club, Inc., violated the Consumer Fraud Act when it advertised that its bulk tobacco was tax free and could be rolled into cigarettes equaling a cost of just 67 cents a pack, Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday.

“Don’t be fooled.  Everybody has to pay tax on cigarettes,” he said.  “If somehow the seller gets around it…the consumer has to pay.”

He said the Richmond, Ill.-based company also failed to ensure that minors couldn’t unlawfully obtain the tobacco products by mail.

Miller’s office filed the lawsuit Friday in Polk County District Court, asking for an injunction that would prohibit the company’s alleged “deceptive, misleading, omissive and unfair practices.”  The attorney general’s office wants the courts to impose civil penalties of up to $40,000 per violation under the Consumer Fraud Act.

Taxes must be paid on tobacco products, and state and federal taxes on a pack of cigarettes equal more than Smokers Warehouse’s advertised price, Miller said.  State taxes are 36 cents a pack; federal taxes are 39 cents a pack, for a total of 75 cents a pack.

“We see 67 (cents) we know the taxes aren’t included,” he said.  “If Smokers Warehouse doesn’t pay the tax, then individual smokers are liable.”

Miller said the company’s failure to assure that tobacco isn’t sold to minors also constitutes an unfair practice under Iowa law.  Smokers Warehouse, which advertises on the Internet and in newspapers, makes the ads readily accessible to minors who might be attracted by the low prices, he said.

Smokers Warehouse also makes “no effort whatsoever to check a valid identification” of the purchaser’s age, said Miller.

On Sept. 14, the Consumer Protection Division supervised a 14-year-old Iowa girl making a purchase from the company.  Miller said the Smokers Warehouse Web site asked whether the girl was over 18, but did not require proof of age.

“The lack of safeguards is unacceptable,” he said.

A representative answering the phone at Smokers Warehouse on Friday afternoon said the company had no comment on the lawsuit.




4.  Wal-Mart to Clamp Down on Tobacco Sales to Minors

Tribune Staff and Wire Reports - The Salt Lake Tribune

October 1, 2003


Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, will implement new policies to curb cigarette sales to minors under an agreement with attorneys general in Utah and 42 other states.


The Bentonville, Ark.-based discount retailer will remove self-service cigarette displays from its stores and check the identification of anyone who looks to be under 27, the attorneys general announced.


Wal-Mart is the latest retailer to announce new policies that seek to stop children from smoking as part of an initiative by state officials.  Walgreen Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., and BP Plc reached similar agreements with the states last year.


“This agreement will save lives,” says Joel Ferre, the assistant Utah attorney general who will help monitor Wal-Mart’s compliance with the agreement.


The agreement requires Wal-Mart to use cash registers that prompt cashiers to ask for identification and conduct independent, random compliance checks every six months in 10 percent of its stores.  Wal-Mart also agreed not to sell smoking paraphernalia to minors and train its employees on state and local laws regarding tobacco sales to minors.


“We’re really putting energy into the oversight of tobacco sales,” Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said.  “We always have, but we’re doing more.”


“You’d like to say your record is 100 percent.  With 100 million customers a week, occasionally we’ve seen where young people should not have been able to buy tobacco,” he said.


Philip Morris Cos., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. and other cigarette makers agreed to pay $206 billion over 25 years in a 1998 legal settlement with 46 states.  A part of that agreement requires tobacco companies to curb its advertising to youth.




5.  Miller Leads Beer Companies in Spending on Lobbying

By Frederic J. Frommer – Associated Press

October 6, 2003

WASHINGTON – Miller Brewing Co. has spent nearly $2 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies, the most of any beer company, since Phillip Morris sold the brewer last year, reports reviewed by The Associated Press show.

Until July 1 of last year, the Milwaukee-based company’s lobbying figures were not available because the company’s activities weren’t broken down in Philip Morris’ reports.  But Miller has since been purchased by South African Breweries PLC, and Miller filed its own reports for the periods covering the second half of last year and the first half of this year.

The AP reviewed lobbying reports by Miller and other beer companies from July 1, 2002 to June 30 of this year.

During those 12 months, Miller spent $1.84 million, compared with $1.49 million by St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch and $360,000 by Golden, Colo.-based Coors Brewing Co.  Nationally, Anheuser-Busch is first in sales, followed by Miller and then Coors.

“We believe in full and complete disclosure,” said Miller spokesman Michael Hennick, suggesting that might be a reason the company reports the most lobbying expenses.  “We report everything, from pencils and money on consultants, to stationary and rent.”

The reports do not break down how much the company spent on each lobbying initative.

Larry Noble, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, called the spending levels “a fair amount of money,” although not at the top of the list of Washington lobbyists.

“They are, like many industries, a regulated industry,” said Noble, whose group monitors money in politics.

“And the more regulated an industry is, the more you see it spending money on lobbying and political contributions, because they’re very concerned about government regulation.”

In the second half of 2002, the last period from which all reports are available, Miller ranked 131st among groups and businesses in spending on lobbying, according to a list compiled by the nonpartisan Political Money line web site.  That ranking includes nearly 600 of the top spenders on lobbying.

Since July of 2002, Miller has fought a two-front war on federal beer taxes.  It lobbied against legislation that would have doubled the tax to pay for alcohol abuse prevention programs, and in favor of legislation that would have cut the tax in half.  Neither bill passed Congress, leaving the status quo in place.

The beer tax, currently 33 cents for a six-pack, was doubled in 1991 as part of a deficit reduction package.  Miller and other beer companies would like to see it revert back to the pre-1991 level.

Miller also successfully lobbied against another bill that would have created a national media campaign to prevent underage drinking.  Hennick said the company doesn’t think such campaigns are effective, and also fears it would be funded by higher taxes on beer.

And Miller helped defeat legislation to give a tax credit to its competitors, the distilled spirits wholesalers.  The company opposed it because it doesn’t want its rivals to get an “unfair advantage,” Hennick said.





6.  Carter Lake to Contest Proposed Mexican Restaurant in Court

By Jeffrey Robb – Omaha World Herald                                                                               

October 9, 2003

Both sides in a dispute over a proposed Mexican restaurant and dance hall in Carter Lake are ready to continue the fight.

Wednesday, the Carter Lake City Council voted unanimously to take the matter of the White Horse Grill's liquor license application to court. That follows a decision by state officials to back a license for the business.

Ramon Mendoza, a partner in the business, said he won't back down. "There's no way we're going to give up on this," he said.

Mayor Emil Hausner said Carter Lake needs to continue making its case.

"Hopefully, we'll get someone that will eventually say, I think there is a problem there," Hausner said.

The proposal to open the grill along Carter Lake's main street has been controversial. A resident gathered 1,200 signatures of people opposing the plans.

The city and business disagree on the source of contention. Hausner said the dance club could drain police resources if a problem develops, leaving the rest of Carter Lake unprotected. Plus, he said, crowds could cause traffic problems.

"I don't want to run any business out," Hausner said. "But we have to be concerned about the welfare of the people here."

The owners, who are Hispanic, say they feel their race is being used against them. The business has hired a civil rights lawyer.

Hausner denies that race is an issue.

The Carter Lake City Council voted in February to deny a liquor license. White Horse then appealed to the state.

Last week, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division ruled that the business should receive a license. Administrator Lynn Walding said Carter Lake can't deny a license merely because it anticipates problems.