The co-owner of a Staten Island bar spoke to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday, hours after he was arrested and accused of disorderly conduct for remaining inside his pub when it was supposed to be shuttered under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s “orange zone” coronavirus orders.
A mob of outraged supporters of Danny Presti and business partner Keith McAlarney gathered outside the Grant City establishment Wednesday night while Presti and attorney Lou Gelormino discussed the situation with host Tucker Carlson.
“We had a little meeting inside [the pub] yesterday,” Presti explained. “I did have some guests in there. Sheriffs came in, seemed like a lot of them. We were really good with them. Really cordial. And after a while, they just wanted to take me out, [it was a] whole big ordeal.”
Gelormino and Presti stressed that their frustrations are not with the New York Police Department (NYPD), which Presti said have been resourceful throughout the ordeal.
Presti said the agency that has been bothering them is the New York City Sheriffs Office, which is separate from the NYPD and operats under the auspices of the New York City Department of Finance.
The NYPD deal in criminal law while the sheriff’s office is tasked with “serving and execute legal processes/mandates issued by the State courts, legal community and the general public,” according to the city.
“There’s a blockade, a literal blockade on a small business,” Presti said of the sheriff’s officers barring the entrance to the Grant City pub.
Prior to Presti’s arrest, he and McAlarney locked the doors to their pub and were soliciting “donations” rather than billing their patrons, claiming to have found a “loophole” against the New York State Liquor Authority, which had pulled their license to sell booze as punishment for defying Cuomo.
Their defiance came to a head Tuesday night when sheriffs formally shut down the pub — which McAlarney had deemed an “Autonomous Zone” in the spirit of this summer’s “CHAZ” enclave in Seattle.
Attorney Gelormino told Carlson that he had been served with “four summonses for just representing my client in a polite, respectful manner. [They] gave us $50,000 in fines throughout the building and wound up arresting Danny and putting him in handcuffs and charging him with disorderly conduct when he never raised a voice, and in his own building that he’s the leaseholder on.”
Discussing events outside the bar Wednesday night, Gelormino told Carlson that supporters of the bar’s owners were “peacefully protesting.
“No rioting, no looting,” he added. “We have about 25 sheriffs’ deputies in front of the place that were kind of aggressive at times. But we have 1,500 Staten Islanders in a peaceful protest, protesting and supporting business owners, local business owners.”
The lawyer went on to explain that while Mac’s Public House sits in an “orange zone” where indoor dining is prohibited, just across the Staten Island Railway tracks is a “yellow zone” where indoor dining is permitted.
“I’m not a scientist. I’m an attorney,” Gelormino remarked. “The COVID virus doesn’t stop at the railroad tracks where you can go eat a block away.”