TRENTON ––Park Place Bar and Grill in National Park will have its license suspended for 50 days after an investigation by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control revealed the bar owner hired a 17-year-old girl to strip for customers and paid her with alcohol while on the job, officials announced today.
ABC Investigators visited the bar in February 2011 and found the minor being served alcohol by bartender Melissa Armstrong of Marlton. Upon questioning, Armstrong told the investigators that her bosses, Donald Rossiter Sr., of National Park, and his son Donald Rossiter Jr., of West Deptford, directed her to give the teenager as much alcohol as she wanted to “loosen her up” because she was hired to strip and socialize with patrons that night, officials said. That evening, Armstrong told investigators that the minor had been drinking mixed drinks, including Long Island Iced Tea and Bay Breeze cocktails.
“The division aggressively sought the suspension of this license, and we will continue to look for licensees who serve alcohol available to persons under the legal age,” said Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre. “This case was particularly troubling because the licensee used alcohol to exploit a minor for financial gain.”
“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,” Halfacre said.
Rossiter Jr. is a part owner of the bar and employs his father in a management capacity. Rossiter Sr. and Jr. and Armstrong were all arrested and charged with serving alcohol to an underage person. The minor was also charged with drinking alcohol underage and was released into her father’s custody. During the course of the investigation that night, ABC detectives also arrested and charged two other people for drinking underage while they were 20 and 19 years old, respectively.
In addition to admitting the underage violations, Park Place Bar and Grill also conceded they had been purchasing alcohol from a nearby liquor store for sale at their establishment, which is also a violation of ABC law, officials said.
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