Gambling charges against a state lawmaker's brother and three others were set aside on an inactive docket Monday in Baltimore County District Court in Towson, meaning the court made no finding of guilt or innocence in the case alleging that a Dundalk tavern made cash payouts on video game machines.
Daniel J. Minnick, 86, brother of state Del. Joseph "Sonny" Minnick, who was also a part-owner of Minnick's on Sollers Point Road, agreed as a condition of setting aside the charges to forfeit five video game machines and half the cash confiscated in a police raid on June 29. Police alleged that the bar/restaurant was making payouts to customers playing the machines.
Minnick, who faced six misdemeanor counts, forfeited $499.05 and the state returned $500 that was seized in the raid.
Misdemeanor charges against three other defendants — a former bartender and two customers — were also placed on the inactive docket but without conditions.
Techically, the charges can be brought back for trial at any time. Within the first year, either party can ask to have the charges scheduled for trial for any reason. After that, the court must find that there is good cause to reactivate the case.
The Minnicks, including Daniel, Joseph and Joseph's wife, Barbara Jean, sold the liquor license last month to the owners of the Sea Horse Inn, another bar/restaurant in Dundalk. Minnick's had been in the family since the 1930s, although the family did give up the liquor license for a time before buying it back in 1992.
Police raided the place June 29, a couple of weeks after two undercover officers reported seeing customers being paid for points on the video machines. The investigation began after the county Board of Liquor License Commissioners received an anonymous complaint in May that the bar "is paying off on machines and [has] been for years," according to the complaint form in the liquor board file.
The bartender, Diana M. Anthony, told police that the bar made cash payments "6-8 times a day," according to charging documents.
Del. Joseph Minnick, a District 6 Democrat, was not charged, but Anthony told police that he knew about the payouts. The charging documents say she told police that both Daniel and Joseph Minnick told her to "be careful who she pays out to and to only pay known customers."
Daniel Minnick said Monday that the family has been trying to sell the business "for 10 years" and finally found buyers in Kenneth E. Crizer and Alexandra van Dommelen, both of Dundalk. In November, they and Kenneth Byers bought the business. The Minnicks still own the building and agreed to a 15-year lease, according to papers in the liquor board file.
Crizer and van Dommelen also own the Sea Horse Inn. That liquor license was transferred this year from Crizer's brother, Edward, a member of the county Board of Appeals, and van Dommelen's father, Lionel van Dommelen, who is the county's head of code enforcement.