At 82, after a long career in business and politics – including a term in Congress and as North Carolina’s lieutenant governor – Jim Gardner might have found a true mission in chairing the state’s ABC Commission.
As a Republican politician, Gardner had a reputation as a tough-talking, take-no-prisoners fellow who sometimes played the game a little too rough.
But as chairman of the ABC board, Gardner is talking tough about the right topics, including underage drinking. He has become a passionate advocate for punishing those who don’t take the issue seriously, and he’d put in that category the Chapel Hill bar He’s Not Here, which thanks to the ABC board will have a suspended permit for 21 days and a $15,000 fine.
An Asheboro man faces three counts of second-degree murder and driving while impaired charges for a July 18 wreck. The man, former UNC student Chandler Kania, is alleged to have used a fraternity brother’s identification to drink at He’s Not Here and another bar, La Residence, hours before the triple-fatality wreck on I-85. He is under house arrest.
Gardner promised this episode should be a lesson to all bars that continue to sell to underage customers. We have a feeling he intends to keep that promise, and then some.