The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority expects license holders to refrain from drinking during the events they are hosting.
Whenever someone applies for a banquet special event license from the Virginia ABC, the first page of the application lays out 11 responsibilities of the license holder on the day of the event. Along with ensuring that minors are not served or are consuming alcohol and intoxicated adults are not excessively served, the Virginia ABC expects the licensee to not be intoxicated during the event.
On May 6, the Virginia ABC granted a banquet special event license to the Strasburg Chamber of Commerce for its Mayfest event with Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr. listed as the “responsible person” during a period effective May 17-19.
On May 17, Orndorff was involved in a crash when he drove off King Street and into the library in downtown Strasburg. Virginia State Police later charged Orndorff with driving under the influence and reported he had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 — more than twice the legal limit.
Dawn Eischen, a public relations specialist for the Virginia ABC, said the organization responds to and investigates any complaints it receives about a licensee failing to act responsibly.
“If any of them are violated, it could possibly result in some sort of action from ABC,” Eischen said. “But in every situation, it would require additional investigation or followup.”
Eischen said the Virginia ABC did not receive a complaint about anything related to Mayfest so they have not conducted any investigation.
How the Virginia ABC would respond following an investigation depends on the infraction and individual situation, Eischen said.
“The answer to that would really depend on the situation and it's different for all licensees,” she said. “Really, what ABC looks at is what events happened during the event, or what potential incident happened during the event for the banquet license.”
Orndorff’s crash happened after the evening’s event was over.
Eischen said the banquet license the chamber applied for spanned over three days but only applied to the beer garden from 5-7 p.m. each day.
If the Virginia ABC were to investigate the event, officials would look at what time the event started and ended and what time the incident occurred. If the incident occurred shortly after the event, or during the event, the Virginia ABC would investigate further.
“If a situation occurs several hours following the time frame, then it would not necessarily have an effect on the licensee,” Eischen said.
Orndorff's crash and subsequent time spent in the hospital recovering from his injuries are central to a petition Strasburg citizens filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court this week to have him removed from office.