Free wine kiosks cost Pennsylvania $300K in legal fees

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has spent almost $300,000 defending a claim by a Montgomery County company that supplied the supermarket wine kiosks before it was aborted because the machines were unpopular, a newspaper reported.

The legal fees were reported Sunday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in a story updating the status of the litigation by Simple Brands LLC. The newspaper obtained the legal bills in a public records request.

The Conshohocken company is pursuing the matter before the LCB’s Board of Claims in Harrisburg, saying the LCB essentially forced it out of business at a loss of $81 million. The company also says the LCB is delaying the litigation unnecessarily.

But LCB attorney Dean Piermattel said the company took six months to respond to the LCB’s request for records, and last month produced more than 126,000 pages, which LCB attorneys are still reviewing.

“We want nothing more than to move this case along as expeditiously as possible, but we need information before we can proceed,” Piermattel said in a statement released through an LCB spokeswoman.