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Stapleton resigns from Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 5:16 p.m.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board member Patrick J. Stapleton III will resign his post on the three-member board effective Friday, according to a brief letter to Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday.

In the Oct. 4 letter hand-delivered to Corbett, Stapleton said: “Please be advised I will be leaving the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on Oct. 5, 2012.”

Stapleton's term expired in May, but he could continue to serve up to six months longer, or until Nov. 14, said LCB spokeswoman Stacey Witalec.

Last week, Corbett nominated Ken Trujillo, an attorney with the Philadelphia law firm Trujillo, Rodriguez & Richards LLC and a former member of the Gaming Control Board, to succeed Stapleton.

Trujillo must be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the state Senate to take his seat on the board.

No date has been set for when the Senate may consider Trujillo's nomination, a Senate spokeswoman said. The Senate has just four session days scheduled between now and the end of the year.

The Liquor Control Board's operations won't change with two board members instead of three because the board still has a quorum, Witalec said. There is no limit as to how long the board can operate with only two out of three posts filled, she said.

Stapleton, 56, an Indiana, Pa., native, was appointed to the LCB by Gov. Tom Ridge on June 17, 1997 and reconfirmed by unanimous votes of the state Senate in May 2000 and May 2004.

He served as chairman of the board from January 2007 through October 2011 where he presided over the start of two major LCB initiatives: remodeling state wine and spirits stores and the short-lived introduction of wine vending machines at dozens of grocery stores statewide.

The wine kiosks, which were shuttered for weeks in 2010 because of mechanical problems, were ultimately pulled from supermarkets in September 2011 amid a dispute with the maker, Simple Brands LLC of Conshohocken, Montgomery County, over a $1 million payment the LCB said it was owed by the company.

Stapleton continues to practice law with the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh-based law firm of Weber, Gallagher, Simpson, Stapleton, Fires and Newby.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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