On November 9, 2016 Marc Lazar CEO of Cellar Advisors, Domaine Wine Storage, and InsureYourWine(dot)com was arrested on two felony counts of “Selling Wine Without A License”. There is a pending Criminal Case No. 1622-CR04774 (State of Missouri vs. Marc Lazar). Read more about this developing story in the Don Cornwell article found on Wine Beserkers.com blog.
Mr. Lazar was previously convicted on two felony convictions in 2005 for the Statutory Sodomy [1st Degree (2003)] and Statutory Rape of a Minor [1st Degree (2005)] of a minor. The female victim was only 13 years old at the time Mr. Lazar committed both of these crimes. Marc Lazar’s criminal records may viewed on the Missouri State Sex Offender Registry.
During late 2015 the Cellar Advisors web site was decommissioned, and Mr. Lazar merged Cellar Advisor’s business operations into his other company – Domaine Wine Storage. Mr. Lazar was also a principal partner at one time for another company (InsureYourWine.com) which brokered insurance policies to customers, insuring their wine collections. His current business relationship and official position status with this company is unknown.
During March of this year I appeared as an expert witness and wine consultant for the defense in the Federal Court Case (Great Northern Insurance Co. a/s/o D. Gideon Searle and Nancy S. Searle vs. Cellar Advisors LLC & Cellar Advisors LLC vs. Sataria Acquisition LLC d/b/a/ Flagship Logistics Group” (Case#: 1:12 CV 09343 filed in US District Court, Northern District of Illinois; Eastern Division). Mr. Lazar alleged that a portion of the eight million dollar wine collection belonging to Mr. Gideon Searle was, in his opinion, “heat damaged”. The Plaintiff’s claim was for 2.2 million dollars. Cellar Advisor’s insurance company settled with Great Northern Insurance (a subsidiary of Chubb Insurance) in an out of court for one million dollars. This ongoing federal court case, currently under appeal, has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.
For quite some time the mixed reputation of Marc Lazar has preceded him. It was rumored for years that Mr. Lazar had been selling wines without holding both the required federal and state licenses. Allegations regarding Mr. Lazar’s brokering wine insurance policies without the required insurance licensing had also circulated. Most recently, Marc Lazar faced allegations that he brokered interstate truck transportation without the required Department of Transportation licensing.
Thankfully the wine industry will hopefully soon see the demise of Cellar Advisors, Domaine Wine Storage, and InsureYourWine.com once and for all.