2009-01-31 / News

Trial for Capt'n Woody's owners may be delayed

By Scott Rawdon

AVONDALE - The trial for the owners of Capt'n Woody's Pub and Grub in Avondale may be delayed until March 2 or 3 from Feb. 9, although Fred Alverson, public affairs officer for the US Department of Justice Southern District of Ohio, said Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Holschuh hadn't approved the request yet.

A federal grand jury indicted Capt'n Woody's owners Joseph Marasco, 42 of Pataskala, and Robert Fusner, 33 of Grove City July 16, alleging that they conspired to traffic in illegal drugs and launder the proceeds of the crime, as well as filing false income tax returns, according to a US Department of Justice news release.

The indictment alleges that since 1997 Marasco, Fusner, and others conspired to distribute cocaine and marijuana in Central Ohio. The indictment also alleges the men and others conspired to launder the money from the drug proceeds through buying a boat, cars, Capt'n Woody's, and other transactions.

Another count alleges the men spent drug money on cars and Capt'n Woody's.

Robert "Pedro" Mar, Capt'n Woody's general manager, was not implicated in any wrongdoing, and there was no implication that any drugs were ever sold from Capt'n Woody's premises.

Matt Mullins, public information officer for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, said the owners still hold Capt'n Woody's liquor permit under 1055 Avondale, Inc., although there is a transfer of ownership pending on file for Buckeye Lake Tavern, LLC, whose managing member is Gee W. Mar, Robert Mar's father. Mullins said the current owners have not filed their 2009- 2010 permit renewal application - the permit must be renewed or it cannot be transferred. Mullins said liquor control records show a tax issue must be resolved before the division can renew or transfer the permit. According to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, all Licking County liquor permits expire Feb. 1.

But, even if the deadline is missed it doesn't necessarily mean Capt'n Woody's would be forced to shut down. "There are several things that could happen; the process could take time," he said.

Mullins said the current holder could renew the permit, and then the transfer process could continue. If the division were to issue orders canceling the permit for failure to renew, or deny the renewal because of the tax issues or any other reason, the permit holder would have the right to appeal the orders to the Ohio Liquor Control Commission - the commission could grant a stay order allowing the business to continue operating until matters are fully resolved. If the division denies the transfer, said Mullins, that, too, could be appealed to the commission.

Robert Mar could not be reached for comment.

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