A boardwalk bar in Seaside Heights will be fined $15,000 and a "Jersey Shore" cast member will be banned from the establishment for two years under a settlement between the bar and the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The state agency announced the settlement Thursday, in which Spicy Cantina pleaded guilty to serving alcohol to Deena Cortese, 25, of New Egypt, while she was visibly intoxicated.
The fine against Spicy stems from a June 10 incident where MTV "Jersey Shore" cast member Cortese was arrested by borough police for disorderly conduct after being seen disrupting traffic while dancing in the street.
The state took action after it was observed by police that Cortese and an entourage that included an MTV crew, had been at Spicy's for about 90 minutes. After Cortese left, officials said, she began dancing in an intersection and appeared to be intoxicated after losing her balance several times.
Cortese then proceeded south on Ocean Terrace and grabbed onto the trunk of a car and continued to dance. Seaside Heights police said her behavior seriously restricted the flow of the traffic, which led to her being placed under arrest.
Following her arrest, Cortese told police that she had been drinking through the course of the day, officials said.
According to a statement released Thursday by the ABC, agency investigators learned that while at the establishment, Cortese was observed to be walking on the bar, falling on the ground and standing on a red bench at a table of random guests. At one point, the statement said, Cortese left the premises with an alcoholic beverage, walked onto the boardwalk and returned to the bar a short time later.
In addition to pleading to the visible intoxication charge, Spicy also admitted to serving Cortese drinks that she did not order, which is illegal.
Four staff members from Spicy submitted a letter to the ABC dated June 10 explaining that Cortese was served one alcoholic drink, a vodka and club soda, then was deemed to be intoxicated by the bar management. According to the letter, after cutting Cortese off, "she was served several shots of water, which she thought contained alcohol. She was also served non-alcoholic drink mix with fruit garnish. She drank multiple glasses without realizing that she was not drinking alcohol."
“ABC licensees are strictly liable for any violations of the law at their premises and have a responsibility to maintain control of their establishment," said Michael Halfacre, ABC director. "In this case, the management at Spicy Cantina and Mexican Grill were not in control."
The bar will pay a $15,000 fine and face a 10-day suspension of its license should it violate state ABC laws in the next two years.
Cortese will be banned from the establishment for two years as part of a special condition placed on its alcohol license.
"This settlement is a cautionary tale for licensees who might think ignoring the law for the sake of airtime is good for business," said Halfacre. "By turning a blind eye to the mayhem that can be associated with reality television, you are risking your livelihood. That is, without a doubt, bad for business."
Cortese eventually pleaded guilty to a borough ordinance violation over the incident and paid a small fine.
The show wrapped up filming of its final season in July. That season, which presumably will include the June 10 incident, is set to air starting in October.