Officials tight-lipped…Adamstown VFW closes

By on September 16, 2015


The Brendle Coleman VFW Post No. 8795 at 110 W. Main St. in Adamstown has been placed under state suspension by the Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters as a result of infractions of the national by-laws.

“The state administrative team has been appointed by the department to represent the state headquarters and the mission of the VFW at all times, with the ultimate goal of correcting the actions that put the post under department control,” said John Getz, state adjutant, Department of Pennsylvania of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Photos by Michele Walter Fry The Brendle Coleman VFW Post at 110 W. Main St., Adamstown, is closed.

Photos by Michele Walter Fry
The Brendle Coleman VFW Post at 110 W. Main St., Adamstown, is closed.

The Post’s Facebook page, in a post dated Sept. 8, notes:

“ADAMSTOWN VFW is CLOSED for the next 30-60 days. Sorry for the inconvenience of all our functions being cancelled. Cancelled functions are:

Community Bingo

Hyjynx Band

Karaoke Steve

Start of Shuffleboard

All Ladies Aux., Home Association and Post meetings.”

The Review reached out to James Haller, senior vice president of the post and district commander of VFW District No. 9 of Pennsylvania, who declined to comment on the closing or the reason(s) for the action.

According to a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, there is a laundry list of violations filed against the Adamstown VFW, going back to the winter of 2014.

Those reasons may factor into the suspension/closure of the post.

These include selling alcoholic beverages to nonmembers; failure to maintain records in conformity with the state Liquor Code and Title 40 of the Pennsylvania Code; selling alcoholic beverages after the expiration of the catering club liquor license on Feb. 28, 2014; permitting smoking in a public place where smoking is prohibited in violation of the Liquor Code and the Clean Indoor Air Act; and transporting malt or brewed beverages without a license to do so.

The PLCB held a hearing on July 15. The spokesman said an adjudication was mailed Sept. 10, imposing a $3,200 fine, which is due Sept. 29.

An exposed electrical panel is a mass of wires on the building.

An exposed electrical panel is a mass of wires on the building.

One source praised the late Norman Lausch, a veteran member of the post who passed away 10 years ago.

Lausch, said the source, “helped to pay bills out of his own pocket.”

“I think it’s a problem financially,” said Laverne Sweigart, who lives across from the VFW. “I don’t know how they could be out of the hole.

“A year ago, I’d say they were in the hole. They had a lot of the officers quit and had a lot of new officers a couple of times.”

The Adamstown VFW has not been mentioned in any of East Cocalico Chief George Beever’s police reports during Adamstown Borough Council meetings.

However, a red flag was that post officials have not paid any utility bills in the last year, according to a borough official citing water and sewer reports. Post officials also have not been paying their security service, he said.

Sgt. James Lyman of the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, said the post was not closed by his agency.

“If they shut down, they did it themselves,” said Lyman.

On Main Street, neighbors were surprised to hear of the shutdown, even though Adamstown VFW recently sold off its picnic grove, located off Willow Street.

 An old sofa deteriorates on a porch.

An old sofa deteriorates on a porch.

The chaplain of the VFW was not aware of any wrong-doing.

“We’re having trouble getting vets to join to keep the post open,” said the chaplain who did not want his name used with these quotes. “We have lots of social members. (Social members as defined by the VFW do not have voting rights for post business.) That’s the reason we’re shut down for now. The state is going to maybe find people to come in and rectify that and get new members to come in. We couldn’t.

“We have a few in their 90s. I’m one of the youngest ones and I’m 71. I’m getting tired and I can only do so much. The last meeting there were was only three or four and we should have at least five for the meetings and we should have 10 for officers.

“I don’t know the full story of it. I’m the chaplain here and don’t get involved in the office.”

The Adamstown VFW Post Web page was still live at press time. It lists the post’s officers.

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