Liquor board suspends inspector Panel takes action day after indictments

May 08, 1998|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Chief liquor board inspector Anthony J. Cianferano was suspended without pay yesterday, a day after he was indicted on bribery charges, but a city liquor inspector who was also indicted remains on the public payroll.

The Board of Liquor License Commissioners said Cianferano, an employee since 1977, could return to his $30,632-a-year post if he is found not guilty of conspiring to block enforcement of liquor laws by paying bribes.

"The severity of the punishment is why we felt he should be suspended without pay," said board Chairman Leonard R. Skolnik.

If found guilty, Cianferano could receive a 14-year prison term and $6,000 in fines.

But Michael J. Hyde, a city liquor inspector, remains in his job because he is protected by civil service requirements, city officials said.

Cianferano, Hyde and four others, including former Del. William NTC J. Madonna Jr., were indicted Wednesday on charges that they were involved in a 10-year scheme to prevent state liquor law enforcement.

The three-count indictment comes after an 18-month investigation by state Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, who alleged that between July 1988 and February 1998, Madonna controlled the appointment and promotion of liquor license inspectors and bribed them to shield himself and others from enforcement efforts.

Board members said yesterday that Hyde's fate is not under their authority and that because of rule changes last year, he would have to be disciplined by the Civil Service Commission.

Clinton R. Coleman, city spokesman, said Hyde would be disciplined if he is found guilty of some or all the charges.

"Nothing will happen until his case goes to court," Coleman said.

Former liquor board members had been accused of corruption in the past, and members of the current board distanced themselves yesterday from the charges.

They emphasized that they are new board members who came into office last year.

"There were ongoing investigations when we came," said board Executive Secretary Nathan C. Irby Jr.

The current members have been "trying to move the liquor board from an agency under a cloud to credibility in the neighborhood," Irby said.

Pub Date: 5/08/98

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