The attorney for Capriccio by the Sea said this week that his clients have entered a response of “not guilty” to 14 administrative charges that led the state to recommend its liquor license be revoked.
Jason Michael Ross, who represents Paola Pascarella and Ken Deiner, Capriccio’s owners, said he believes the issues can be resolved without such a harsh punishment – and that the most serious charge which called for revocation is untrue.
Ross, a former Deputy Attorney General for the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said one of the state’s primary allegations state that Kim Pascarella, an assistant prosecutor with Ocean County, did not file a required disclosure form. But he had fully divested himself from the license before taking the job.
“Kim was a somebody who had prior interest in the license until 2015 prior to his taking a job of an assistant prosecutor,” said Ross.
Paola Pascarella now owns the majority of the license while Deiner, the chef and operator of the restaurant on a daily basis, owns a smaller share.
The ABC’s other charges were more minor in nature, mainly having to do with accounting issues, the failure to display a fetal alcohol syndrome poster and an allegation that the state’s investigation into the license had been hindered.
The restaurant – which straddles the border of Toms River and Lavallette but has its liquor license issued by Lavallette – came under scrutiny after a small group of neighboring residents lobbied the Lavallette borough council to take action after they complained about the restaurant’s music being too loud and voices of patrons carrying at night. Deiner previously told Shorebeat that the restaurant had installed sound-proofing this year and modified its music schedule. Indeed, none of the administrative charges from the ABC referenced any excessive noise or other disturbances or similar troubles.
The “not guilty” response to the ABC’s charges was filed Tuesday.
“We’re going to be engaging with the ABC to see if this can be amicably resolved,” said Ross.