York County bail-bonding agent cleared of all 'speakeasy' charges
All charges against a local bail-bonding agent accused of running a York City speakeasy have been dropped.
Brandon Marquette, 38, had faced the misdemeanor offenses of unlawful acts relative to liquor and unlawful acts relative to malt or brewed beverages.
He owns and runs the Post Office Social Lounge in the 500 block of Maryland Avenue.
At Marquette's Feb. 10 preliminary hearing before District Judge James Morgan, all charges were dismissed, according to court records.
Defense attorney Chris Ferro has said both Marquette and the club followed the law and never sold alcohol illegally.
Marquette told The York Dispatch on Tuesday that his reputation as a local business person could have been tainted by the allegations.
"Any time you're accused of any type of crime and you have credible businesses … publicity like that sometimes affects you in the wrong way," he said. "It's all perception."
The lounge is temporarily closed, he said.
"We look forward to reopening by April," Marquette said.
He said building businesses to pass on to your children is a deeply rooted belief in his family, "so they have a good head start in life."
Marquette said it's important to him that his business ventures are above-board so that in the future, some or all of his five sons can take over.
He thanked people in the community who supported him after a state Liquor Control Enforcement agent filed the misdemeanor charges.
"It's important to me that I do have people who believe in me," he said, because that "feeds the positivity that allows us to grow."
The background: Court documents filed by the LCE agent claimed Marquette had been giving free alcohol to patrons after they paid a $25 cover charge.
The agent made two undercover visits to the lounge last summer, each time paying the cover charge. Each time, he was given complimentary alcoholic drinks, according to court documents.
He asked how much he owed for the alcohol and was told there was no charge for it, but that tipping was encouraged, documents state.
He had to pay an additional $30 above the cover charge to smoke from a hookah, according to court documents.
The lounge doesn't have a liquor license.
The Post Office Social Lounge's Facebook page describes it as having a diverse atmosphere and offering hookah, live music, karaoke, DJs, "free adult beverages & more."
Marquette is a bail-bonding agent with PA Bail Bonds, located in the 200 block of South George Street in York City, according to a list of approved bail agencies in York County.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.