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10 N.J.A.R. 81

Howard, Willard C. 'Bucky'; Gaming Enforce- ment, State of New Jersey, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of v
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Citation: 10 N.J.A.R. 81
Decision Date: 1987
Synopsis: The Division filed an application with the Casino Control Commission seeking immediate suspension of respondent's casino key employee license, based on allegations by a former subordinate of respondent's that they had shared kickbacks. A complaint for revocation of the same credential on the same grounds was filed at the same time. Thereafter and before any action was taken on either the application for suspension or the complaint, respondent was indicted by the State Grand Jury for conspiracy, commercial bribery and misconduct by a corporate official, as a result of the same kickbacks. The Division amended the pleadings to seek suspension solely on the basis of the pending indictment. Respondent conceded that suspension of his license was appropriate because of the indictment. He requested an expedited hearing on the application for suspension but asked that any decision regarding the complaint be deferred during the pendency of the criminal charges, citing N.J.S.A. 5:12-86(d). The Division objected to respondent's request, claiming it was an attempt to use the administrative hearing as a discovery device. The Commission suspended respondent's license, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-109, in view of the pending indictment and respondent's concession as to the propriety of the relief. Regarding the request to expedite the hearing but defer the decision, the Commission noted that when such requests were made after suspension of an employee's license, the usual practice was to defer administrative proceedings in their entirety pending the resolution of criminal charges. N.J.S.A. 5:12-86(d), permits deferral of a 'decision' on an application for licensure upon request of the applicant pending resolution of criminal charges. Assuming arguendo that the deferral request in this instance related only to a 'decision,' the respondent's request for an expedited hearing, but no decision, was denied upon consideration of equity, fairness and efficient expenditure of limited agency resources. However, the Commission did not exclude the possibility that some future respondent would present such a clear case for prejudice that the Commission would approve the procedure suggested by respondent. In this case, respondent did not demonstrate sufficient prejudice. As guidance for future cases, the Commission noted that, where the Division has the opportunity to apply for a suspension under N.J.S.A. 5:12-109, the regulatory system will not usually be harmed by deferral of the entire hearing process. Thus, absent a compelling demonstration of prejudice to the respondent, the Commission will defer all further administrative proceedings related to the criminal episode until the criminal charges are resolved. Respondent's casino key employee license was suspended. The Commission deferred all proceedings related to the alleged criminal episode until resolution of the pending criminal charges.
Statute(s) Cited: 5:12-86c(1) 5:12-86d 5:12-108e 5:12-109