New York bar owner Danny Presti was arrested on Tuesday for “criminal trespassing” at his own establishment after he refused to comply with arbitrary lockdown orders from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo has declared Mac’s Public House to be in a so-called “orange zone,” thus mandating Presti and co-owner Keith McAlarney to close down their tavern, notably without compensation.
According to reporting from Irene Spezzamonte, the business owners were serving food and beverages, but they weren’t charging patrons any money. Apparently, this did not sufficiently skirt the rules of Cuomo’s order: “Although it was given away for free to patrons, the law does not permit service during the pandemic, per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate,” Spezzamonte said.
Presti was taken away in handcuffs, and numerous cops stayed outside the tavern to block the entrance. A crowd of supporters quickly formed outside Mac’s, including State Sen. Andrew J. Lanza.
The Republican representative repeatedly asked the officers on scene why Presti was arrested, noting that the order only states that the business owners must “cease and desist.”
“This order simply says that they need to cease and desist,” Lanza told the officers, reported Spezzamonte. “Nowhere here is there an arrest warrant, nowhere here is anything about arresting anyone on their private property. So I’ll ask, [and] you don’t have to answer … why was he arrested? I was told you would tell me why he was arrested and now I’m asking for that answer.”
“So I see that you have the power to arrest people who are sitting in their own establishment, on private property,’’ Lanza continued. “Stick around. Here on Staten Island, we like law and order, but what I just saw here … it really deserves an explanation. Because it really confounds all of us here. … I can tell you, as an attorney, this piece of paper did not authorize what you did here.”
“At some point,” he added, “somebody’s gonna to have to answer for what happened here, because this is wrong.”
Lou Gelormino, an attorney for Presti, told the crowd of supporters that his client is “on his way to the Sheriff’s Office right now, where, they assured me … they’re gonna issue him a desk-appearance ticket and release him, for criminal trespass because he wouldn’t leave his own establishment.”
“From what I understand, [Presti’s] arrested because he didn’t want to leave [his business], and at that point … they considered it trespassing,’’ Gelormino said. “I’d like to know why his attorney got three summonses for just being there and being peaceful and respectful and calm, and every one of these officers can attest to that.”
Gelormino was inside Mac’s when officers handed out summonses, reported Spezzamonte. The attorney said he received a summons himself for $5,000; he was apparently “deemed an employee of the business” when sheriffs were on scene.
“We urge our friends in the restaurant industry to be as resilient as possible while we appeal this decision,” stressed Mark Fonte, another attorney representing the business.
“These sheriff’s officers are ‘wannabe’ cops,” Fonte said. “This is what happens when little people get a little power. Each one of them will have to answer to a federal judge. The issuing of summonses to an attorney for representing his client will not be dealt with lightly. I would advise the issuing sheriff to lawyer up immediately.”
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