CAPE MAY – A Herald Spout Off raised an issue concerning Cape May City Mayor Zack Mullock’s vote on the renewal of liquor licenses for a list of establishments that included his family’s business.
The spouter stated that Mullock had voted for a resolution that renewed the liquor license for the King Edward Corporation, a family-owned business that runs the Chalfonte Hotel, including its bar.
The spouter’s error may partially be due to the fact that Cape May, more than most other municipalities in the county, regularly adds resolutions to its published agenda at the council meeting, so the resolutions are not part of the public packet.
In the case of the June 8 meeting of Cape May’s governing body, this is what happened.
Resolution 155-06-2022 contained a long list of liquor license renewals. It is part of an annual process of the council. At the council meeting, a motion was made and adopted to remove five licenses from the list. Four of these are club licenses and one was for the King Edward Corporation. Given the removal of the King Edward Corporation license, Mullock was able to vote, and he voted in the affirmative on the resolution.
This vote on resolution 155 may be what the spouter saw and assumed incorrectly that it authorized the license for Mullock’s family-run business.
Resolution 161-06-2022 was added to the agenda to consider the four club licenses.
As Solicitor Christopher Gillin-Schwartz explained, club licenses often create unnecessary conflict for governing bodies where elected officials have relationships with various clubs. Such perceived conflicts can deny a quorum needed to approve a license. State law makes a provision for such instances and Cape May was able to pass the resolution renewing the licenses.
Next came another resolution added to the agenda, resolution 162-06-2022. Gillin-Schwartz explained that the council cannot vote to extend the liquor license of an establishment in which a member of the council has an interest.
Such licenses need to be sent to Trenton for review by the director of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This resolution accomplished that referral to the director. Mullock abstained from that vote.