NYC bar owner handcuffed, taken away for allegedly defying coronavirus rules: report

A co-owner of a New York City tavern was taken away from the business in handcuffs Tuesday night, accused of defying state and city mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

Five city sheriff’s officers showed up at Mac’s Public House in Staten Island and arrested co-owner Danny Presti, the Staten Island Advance reported.

In many communities across the U.S., owners of barsrestaurants and other businesses have been complaining that some coronavirus rules have become too draconian, imperiling their ability to earn revenue and keep employees working. Many politicians and health officials, meanwhile, have argued that drastically reducing public gatherings and interactions is the best way to combat the spread of the virus – and get the economy fully restored more quickly.

In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, have been popular targets of those trying to get small businesses back to viability.

Presti was arrested about 7:15p.m., the Advance reported. The action came during a gathering at the tavern where other business owners expressed support for Presti and his business partner, Keith McAlarney.

The business could face fines of as much as $10,000 a day, according to the newspaper.

State Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Republican, spoke in defense of the pro-business effort, and claimed that Presti had only received a cease-and-desist order and should not have been arrested, according to the Advance. Staten Island is a GOP stronghold in New York City and recently elected state lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis to a U.S. House seat, defeating Democratic incumbent Max Rose.

“This order simply says that they need to cease and desist,’’ Lanza told police at the scene, according to the newspaper. “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.”

After members of the crowd shouted at the sheriff’s officers, however, Lanza called for calm, the report said.

“I understand that we feel very strongly about this,’’ he told the crowd. “I feel as strongly as you, I assure you. But by speaking loudly it gives people an excuse not to answer us. So, let’s not give them the excuse. If they don’t want to answer, they don’t have to answer. We respect law enforcement on Staten Island like no other borough.”

Local activist Scott LoBaido posted a profanity-laced video, in which he shamed the community for now showing greater support for the business owners.


Mac’s Public House has continued indoor dining since Nov. 20 despite it being illegal in its Grant City neighborhood, which is part of an “orange zone” for virus mitigation rules.

Lou Gelormino, described by the Advance as a representative of the tavern, claimed Presti was arrested because he had refused to leave the business after it was shut down and was therefore considered a trespasser.

The business has faced summonses from various government agencies since opting to allegedly defy state and local rules, the Advance reported.

Gelormino said he was assured that Presti would be released after receiving an order to appear in court over a trespassing charge, the Advance reported.

*story by Fox News