An attorney for a Staten Island bar owner arrested on violations of the state's coronavirus dining restrictions said at least 20 summonses against the pub's patrons have been dropped, though its legal battles are far from over.
Louis Gelormino, who is representing the co-owner of Mac's Public House, Danny Presti, said at a news conference in front of the bar on Wednesday that the abandoned summonses included four against himself.
Gelormino also said that the bar still has some "civil matters to deal with," including health and building violations that he called "bogus." Mac's Pub is hoping to reopen when those matters are dismissed.
The bar has been stripped of its liquor license and was formally shut down in early December after Presti was arrested on charges of unauthorized food and beverage service when he and co-owner Keith McAlarney declared the restaurant an "Autonomous Zone" and continued serving patrons indoors — and past the citywide 10 p.m. curfew imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The New York State Liquor Authority said their license remains suspended and called the pub a "threat to New Yorkers' health."
"To be extremely clear: Mac's Public House has not sued to overturn the State Liquor Authority's actions, no judge in a case related to Mac's has ruled against the state's public health guidance or the SLA's enforcement actions, the SLA charges have not been dismissed, and this establishment cannot legally serve alcohol," the SLA told Fox News in a statement on Wednesday.
A person familiar with the suspension told Fox News that the bar is facing multiple charges, each of which carries a maximum fine of up to $10,000 and revocation or cancellation of the bar's liquor license, but no one associated with Mac's pub has scheduled a hearing to challenge the SLA's decision.
"We understand the owners of Mac's think they can ignore rules they don't like, but they cannot ignore the fact that their liquor license is inactive, that the SLA's charges are still pending, and that one of the co-owners is accused of running over a sheriff’s deputy – and members of the press should not buy into this false media circus," the SLA said.
The bar, which has been fined thousands of dollars, drew hundreds of protesters earlier this month who supported its reopening.
Days after his restaurant's closure, Presti was arrested again — this time on charges of striking a sheriff’s deputy with his car on Dec. 5. The deputy suffered numerous injuries in the incident, which authorities said occurred as Presti fled deputies attempting to arrest him over violations of city and state closure orders.
After climbing into his car, authorities said, Presti struck the law enforcement officer with the vehicle and drove about 100 yards with the deputy hanging on the hood before he was stopped and apprehended.
The bar's owners and lawyers say they are simply trying to survive. They insist that the state government's restrictions — intended to prevent the deadly spread of COVID-19 — are punishing small-business owners who lack the resources to remain operational indefinitely in such straitened conditions.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, now in his final term, has been a frequent target of criticism as well.
"Mac's Pub, its owners, attorneys, and staff members have been harassed, intimidated, fined, and arrested. They have been hit with over $40,000 in fines and criminal summonses, all under illicit enforcement by NYC Sheriffs," lawyers for the pub said in a statement Wednesday.
MacAlarny said Wednesday he and Presti are "still staying the course" and will continue to fight for other small businesses forced to shut down.
"This governor and mayor will not take away my dream or my bar," MacAlarny said.
The bar is in a ZIP code with a 10.6% positivity rate, compared with 6.2% in the rest of the city, CBS2 reported.