Total Wine: Big Liquor Gets Wrist Slap

MORE PALMETTO-STYLE CRONY CAPITALISM Earlier this year we exposed the documented lawlessness of out-of-state liquor provider Total Wine and More (a.k.a. “Big Liquor”).  We’ve also reported extensively on this particular company’s dubious business practices – which are “built around defying state liquor laws so as to maintain an unfair competitive advantage over smaller…


Earlier this year we exposed the documented lawlessness of out-of-state liquor provider Total Wine and More (a.k.a. “Big Liquor”).  We’ve also reported extensively on this particular company’s dubious business practices – which are “built around defying state liquor laws so as to maintain an unfair competitive advantage over smaller retailers.”

Total Wine has been gaming the system for years … and getting away with it.

Now we’ve learned that this Maryland-based firm – which was ticketed two years ago for violating our state’s liquor laws – has basically paid its way out of trouble by hiring high-priced, well-connected political/ legal talent.  Among its representatives?  Former S.C. Speaker of the House and ex-U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins of the mega-liberal law firm Nelson Mullins.

State House insiders estimate Total Wine and its allies have spent at least $500,000 this year on political and legal fees – not just to buy their way out of trouble, but ostensibly “reform” state liquor laws in an effort to drive small and medium-sized providers out of business.

In the S.C. General Assembly, these efforts have failed miserably.  The S.C. House of Representatives wasn’t buying what they were selling – even when a representative of the company allegedly threatened members of a House committee.

Yet through some very effective influence peddling, Total Wine was able to do what no mom and pop business could afford to do – purchase “justice” in the marketplace.

Total Wine’s business model is simple: If they do not like a law, they ignore it.  And if they get caught ignoring it?  They settle – promising to never be bad again.  In fact according to a settlement agreement obtained by this website under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – .pdf here – the company has agreed to abide by the law moving forward, and (of course) admitted no wrongdoing.

According to our sources, though, with the ink barely dry on this “slap on the wrist” – Total Wine is already up to its old tricks.

We also hear that Total Wine – since its “reform” bill was shut down in the House this year – is planning on taking its crony capitalist legislation to the State Senate in 2016, where its lobbyists believe it will receive a warmer welcome.

Hmmmm …

This website finds itself occupying curious ground in this fight.  We don’t support bending the rules for Big Liquor, but we don’t think laws should be enacted which give smaller firms an unfair advantage either.  Bottom line?  We don’t think this is a business the state should regulate at all – a position which puts us at odds with virtually everyone involved in this insider battle.

Our allegiance is to the consumer.  And to the free market.  Both of which would be served best by zero regulation.

But in lieu of scrapping the state’s liquor laws altogether, there must be fairness for the consumer in the current system.

As we’ve said from beginning of this debate “if a law on the books is being ignored in such a manner as to artificially raise prices on consumers – and if existing laws are being ‘reformed’ in such a way as to jack those prices even higher, then we’ve got a big problem with that.”

And we will continue to call out the companies who game the system at the expense of your wallet or pocketbook.


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shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 10:39 am

I’ll drink to that ….

Rocky Verdad December 9, 2015 at 11:05 am

A man with common sense. I’ll drink to that.

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Rocky, you have heard the expression, “I’ll take a bullet for you”? Of, course you have. Right now I’ll do that —- a shot of Bulleit Rye (90 proof small batch) Frontier Whiskey. Yee Haw! (and I’m going out to do some Christmas shopping …)

jimlewisowb December 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

Wine and Liquor only rivals Tits and Pussy when it comes to our elected/appointed Cockroaches

Fuckin’ Cockroaches

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 10:58 am

Hey there, Jim, when will you be running out of cockroaches ?

erneba December 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

Shifty, I am sure there are no jokes involving women, booze, and politicians.

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

all in one story?

erneba December 9, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Yeah, why not make it hard.

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm

that’s what SHE said..!!

erneba December 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

Money, Liquor and Wine, and then throw in a few politicians, what could possibly go wrong? All we are missing is a few wayward women and I get the feeling they will eventually show up, if they have not already.

9" December 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Old demon alcohol,thanks to you I lost it all.Memories I can’t recall,all to demon alcohol..
All’s left is a Crown Royal bag…

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm

A small balding man storms into a local bar and demands, “Gimme a double of the strongest whiskey you got. I’m so mad, I can’t even see straight.” The bartender, noticing that the little man is a bit the worse for wear, pours him a double of Southern Comfort.

The man swills down the drink and says, “Gimme another one.” The bartender pours the drink, but says, “Now, before I give you this, why don’t you let off a little steam and tell me why you’re so upset?”

So, the man begins his tale. “Well, I was sitting in the bar next door, when this gorgeous blonde slinks in and actually sits beside me at the bar. I thought, “Wow, this has never happened before.” You know, it was kind of a fantasy come true. Well, a couple of minutes later, the blonde leans over and asks if I’d like to come back to her hotel to have dinner and talk for a while. I couldn’t believe this was happening, and I hadn’t had a good meal in quite a while. I managed to nod my head yes, so she grabs my hand and starts walking out of the bar. This seemed just too good to be true.”

He continued, “She took me down the street here to a nice hotel and up to her room. She said to relax, watch some TV, and that she would be ready to go
down to the restaurant in a few minutes. But, as soon as I put my feet up and reclined my chair, I heard some keys jingling and someone starts fumbling with the door.”

“The blonde says, ‘Oh my god, it’s my boyfriend. He must have lost his wrestling match tonight, he’s gonna’ be real mad. Quick, hide!'”

“So, I opened the closet, but I figured that was probably the first place he would look, so I didn’t hide there. Then I looked under the bed, but no, I figured he’s bound to look there, too. By now, I could hear the key in the lock. I noticed the window was open, so I climbed out and was hanging there by my fingers, praying that the guy wouldn’t see me.”

The bartender says “Well I can see how you might be a bit frustrated at this point.”

“Well, yeah, but I hear the guy finally get the door open and he yells out, ‘Who you been with now, you witch?’ The girl says, ‘Nobody, honey, now calm

Well, the guy starts tearing up the room. I hear him tear the door off the closet and throw it across the room. I’m thinking, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t hide
in there.’ Then I hear him lift up the bed and throw it across the room. Good thing I didn’t hide under there either. Then I heard him say, ‘What’s that over
there by the window?’ I think, ‘Oh God, I’m dead meat now.’

But, the blonde by now is trying real hard to distract him and convince him to stop looking. Well, I hear the guy go into the bathroom and I hear water
running for a long time; I figure maybe he’s gonna take a bath or something, when all of a sudden, the jerk pours a pitcher of scalding hot water out of the
window right on top of my head. I mean, look at this, I got second degree burns all over my scalp and shoulders!”

The bartender says, “Oh man, that would have gotten me mad for sure.”

“No, that didn’t really bother me. Next, the guy starts slamming the window shut over and over on my hands. I mean, look at my fingers. They’re a
bloody mess. I can hardly hold onto this glass.”

The bartender looks at the guy’s hands and says, “Yeah, buddy, I can understand why you are so upset.”

“No, that wasn’t what really got me so angry though.”

The bartender then asks in exasperation, “Well, then, what did finally make you anger?”

“Well, I was hanging on the window, and I turned around and looked down- I was only about ten inches off the ground.”

9" December 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Good one.
‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy’ Tom Waits

shifty henry December 9, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Those Crown Royal bags are handy to have. I keep my emergency money in one as my “bug-out” funds for evacuating in case of storms or tornados.

J.Smith aka +1000 more :) December 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Ya know I have been reading this thread with the 5 or so contributors and it really hit me that MOST of ya are just common folks-decent people that use this website to share not only views on politics but also to share many other things in life that bond all of us in the journey of life.

I have disagreed with most on Fits about the politics and your world views-yet respect many of you for your wit,humor and ability to put forward an opinion.

My apologies for way to often getting into the ‘gutter’ on the many topics we have all have engaged in. Often I have gotten personal when I was attacked or my feelings were hurt.Not really experienced with the whole ‘blogging’ world and guess that is why a small forum like the former Sun News blog and then one appealed to me.

It REALLY is time for me to move on.Despite the suggestions that I am unemployed I do have business interests that require more and more of my time and of course family responsibilities. I shared with Jimlewis several months ago that I had been through a tough medical time and found this forum a place to help ‘heal’. I had thought about leaving and he in his own ‘Fuck em’ way talked me into staying. I always appreciated that.

Be clear that I hold NO hard feelings toward ANYONE on FitsNews and I appreciate the fact that Will allowed me to be a guest on his forum.The false pedophile/child molestation allegations bothered me as I have turned MANY on into reading FitsNews and they hurt me.Still don’t fully understand why ‘GT’ was outed but my guess he is fine.

I am not suing anyone and have no intention of trying to disrupt this website.I believe that the anonymity on Fits gives a free flow of opinion in today’s politically correct world.

Only the best to all of you.I will still check in to read some of the articles however I need to move on.

jimlewisowb December 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Pick up a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 and a six pack of 8 oz. glass bottle cokes

Fix yourself a couple of doubles, get a good nights sleep and we will be hearing from you on the flip side

Satan P. December 10, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Bullllllllllllllllll Shit!…….you (under the guise of one of your various alter egos) will be back on this site within 24 hours. It’s an addiction and you can’t live without it. The only way that you are not on this site is if you were finally convicted of child molestation/pedophila and have no internet access in prison.

I look forward to getting my subpoena from “D. Fannin, Esq” a/k/a your imaginary lawyer, you worthless piece of shit.

Oh, by the way some advice to help you adjust to your new home…. 1. don’t drop the soap and 2. request that you are housed in protective custody a/k/a “punk city” as the other inmates have no use for your kind.

Yelsewh December 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Mom and pop liquor stores SHOULD BE driven out of business. We pay too much for liquor in this state because of ridiculous rules protecting small vendors.

HD December 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Care to share with the class who it is that’s paying you for this?

Lone Ranger December 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Ummmm…Kemosabe…so NC and Georgia ran payday out for gouging consumers and SC’s best legislature money can buy welcomed them here

That’s right—the same scum who “reformed” payday by doubling the size of the loans and imposing NO interest caps—well isn’t that just queer

And the same dirtbags who knee-jerked with Back-Stab-Conservatives Haley and Joe Wilson to rip down patriots’ flag WITHOUT letting you vote

So hey—keep electing these felons you all-day suckers and your wine will get you drunk AND break your wallet—like being still-ignorant goats ???

Rashid Khalidi December 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Please stop whining about the so called “patriots rag being ripped down without letting you vote” in every one of your daily stupid, idiotic, uniformed rants.

If you would come out of the basement every once in awhile, you would know that there are much more pressing and urgent matters facing this state and nation.

Lone Ranger December 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

Rashid wants everyone to share his concerns because he wants lib hearts to bleed
He’s a graduate of the PC-bash-Christian-heritage school but then his name IS…Rashid !!!

Rashid Khalidi December 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Hardly a bleeding heart liberal or of the “pc bash christian heritage school” wherever it may be. Just tired of the same old tired rant from an individual who is stuck in the past. Newsflash, the civil war ended on April 9, 1865. That rag you are so fond of has no religious connotations whatsoever. The “christian heritage” reference is simply an attempt to cover up and alter the history of the rag; that is hatred, racism, bigotry, religious intolerance, etc., all of which describes you to a tee.

Again, get out of the basement, you ignorant redneck bastard. AND YES MY NAME IS RASHID!

Lone Ranger December 10, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Rashid jumped on the Obama-All-Conservatives-Are-Hypocrites-Wagon until in 2016 it went in the ditch
Karma is karma–Jesus IS Lord of all–and in 2016 Rashid discovered payback really IS a well… !!!

Rashid Khalidi December 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm

So you can’t stand getting the shit slapped out of you on that rag, so you change the topic by spewing some psychotic politico/religious bullshit.

I am done wasting my time on your pathetic, sick and twisted ass….eat load and die!!!!!!

Lone Ranger December 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

In the end Rashid got his head handed to him and he did not take it well
But that pales compared to what waits if he rejects Jesus–it’s really hot in… !!!

Follow the money December 10, 2015 at 8:10 am

“As we’ve said from beginning of this debate “if a law on the books is being ignored in such a manner as to artificially raise prices on consumers – and if existing laws are being ‘reformed’ in such a way as to jack those prices even higher, then we’ve got a big problem with that.””

From reading the pdf seems that the exact opposite is happening. Per the order Total Wine was being punished for not purchasing their product from a “licensed South Carolina Wholesaler”.

If Total Wine is freed from this restriction seems that prices would likely go down, not up.

As with most alcohol laws in this state they seems to be in place to protect the interests of those making the money at the expense of the consumer.

Why should Total Wine, Sams Club, Costco, etc not be free to bring their product in from out of state if they so choose?

How many licensed wholesalers are there in this state and how much money and to who have they donated?


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