Former Pittsfield bar owner pleads guilty to illegal gambling, drug charges


PITTSFIELD -- His bar closed and the liquor license sold to another business, the former owner of Hermann Alexander's bar pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court to illegal gambling and drug conspiracy charges.

Mitchell T. Grossjung, 25, appeared before Judge Daniel Ford and pleaded guilty to keeping a place for registering bets and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Grossjung was sentenced to a suspended sentence and probation.

Hermann Alexander's bar, which has since been shut down by the city, was raided by police in April 2012 following a Berkshire County Drug Task Force investigation that allegedly revealed cocaine dealing taking place in and around the Lyman Street bar.

Police said the bar was "being utilized as a depot for the open air market of drug transactions" with suppliers distributing drugs to lower level dealers and the dealers then selling to customers inside the bar and in the parking lot, according to a police report.

Grossjung and another man were initially charged with making illegal payments from video poker machines to bar customers. Grossjung was later indicted on an additional charge for allegedly conspiring with others to sell cocaine.

On Wednesday, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke said Grossjung allowed drug dealers to sell cocaine out of his bar and that he "had a problem with cocaine" and would sometimes buy drugs from the dealers.

No drugs were found during the raid, but police allege they recovered "dealer blowouts" -- the corners of plastic bags that are used to hold small amounts of cocaine -- on the floor and hidden inside a bathroom ceiling.

Cases against eight others arrested as part of the investigation are in various stages of litigation.

Additionally, during the raid police located two illegal poker machines along with betting slips, Locke said.

Grossjung's attorney, Robert D. Sullivan Jr., told the court that his client had inherited the bar from his father and that he had unsuccessfully attempted to clean up these activities when he stepped in as owner.

Sullivan said Grossjung is out of the bar business.

Judge Daniel A. Ford sentenced the defendant to a one-year suspended sentence for the conspiracy charge and one year of probation on the gambling charge.

The sentence was in line with a plea deal between Locke and Sullivan.

The maximum sentence for registering bets is three years in state prison or 2 1/2 years in the county jail. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine is 10 years in state prison.

Eagle Reporter Dick Lindsay contributed to this story.

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