Michael "Mickey" Cucchiella Jr., a former 98 Rock Radio morning show host, and a partner could be taking over The Mallet Crab House & Sports Bar in Fallston, a location that has a history of liquor violations under numerous operators.
Cucchiella and Louis Petrucci Sr. have applied to the Harford County Liquor Control Board to have the alcoholic beverage license, held by the current restaurant operators Thomas and Colleen Graden and Brendan Muldoon, transferred to them.
Cucchiella and Petrucci have a contract to purchase the business, which is at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 152, a location one liquor board member suggested earlier this year is "cursed."
The liquor board fined the Gradens and Muldoon $2,250 in February and also suspended their liquor license for four days for alleged illegal activities taking place on the restaurant property and for not cooperating with the board.
The business also was fined $1,500 in December 2014 for serving alcohol to an underage person when the board conducted a compliance test.
"Has this location outlived its life as a sit-down restaurant?" board member Thomas Fidler asked in February, when the current licensees appeared before the board. "Either that, or it's cursed."
Cucchiella and his partner hope to give The Mallet a new life as Mickey's Bar and Grill, Bel Air lawyer Joseph Snee told the board last Wednesday during an "informal discussion" of the mallet's license, according to liquor board administrator Judith Powell.
Board members had "concerns regarding the operations of the business prior to the transfer," Powell said Monday.
Snee was accompanied to the board meeting by the Gradens and Muldoon, and Cucchiella was present in the audience. Petrucci did not attend.
Snee said the purchasers cannot close on the business until the board approves the transfer, and he stressed that the Gradens and Muldoon still own the restaurant.
"There is nothing effectuated until this liquor board does, in fact, approve the transfer of the license," he said.
Charlie Robbins, the liquor board's chief inspector, said he wants the current owners and potential new owners to avoid any violations on the premises during the transfer process, because a violation "sets everything back."
Robbins said he had seen Cucchiella outside the restaurant drinking beer. He also said he had walked into the restaurant at lunchtime and had not seen anyone in there.
Establishments licensed to sell alcohol by the drink in Harford County must have at least 50 percent of their sales derived from food purchases. The board voted unanimously to request three months of sales receipts from the current owners.
"We want this to happen," Fidler told the Gradens and Muldoon. "You guys have been [before the liquor board] long enough, too much."
Fidler also reminded Cucchiella that "your name carries some weight" in the community.
"We would expect you to do what you do best," he said.
"Yes, sir," Cucchiella responded.
Powell said a formal hearing will be held once Cucchiella and Petrucci's application for the transfer of the liquor license is processed.
"They will come back once the application is processed," she said. "It will be advertised, and a hearing will take place before the board to finalize the transfer."
According to state property tax records, the restaurant and night club, which has had a variety of names and operators over the past three-plus decades, is leased from owner Helen M. Chellis, trustee, who has a Baltimore address.
Cucchiella, who is also a stand-up comedian, co-hosted a morning show on 98 Rock until he left the station in 2013, citing depression over the recent death of his mother and divorce from his wife.
He opened the Vape Lounge on North Bond Street in Bel Air in the fall of 2013 with business partner Loria Scheisser. The business, which is a space for people to smoke electronic cigarettes, is now known as the Vape Dojo.
A woman who answered the phone there Monday said Cucchiella "no longer works in this industry."