Sheriffs Arrest Co-Owner of Staten Island Bar That Was Not Complying with Coronavirus Restrictions


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – The general manager of a bar on Staten Island that declared itself an “autonomous zone,” free from the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, was led out of the business in handcuffs Tuesday night.

Deputy Sheriffs say Daniel Presti was charged with multiple offenses including obstructing governmental administration and was released.

Video posted to the bar’s Instagram account showed him being led out of his business. 

Presti is the co-owner and general manager of Mac’s Public House on Lincoln Avenue in Grant City.

The bar is in an orange zone, where indoor dining is not allowed and there is a 10 p.m. dining curfew. 

To try to get around those rules, Mac’s tried to offer free food and drinks with a suggested donation. 

The state stripped the bar of its liquor license last week, and the city health department ordered the bar to close. 

The state Liquor Authority had said offering alcohol for free is not a “loophole” and that a liquor license is needed to sell or serve alcohol.

On Tuesday, the city Buildings Department ordered the business to vacate. 

Despite that order, investigators say plainclothes deputies saw 14 people inside eating and drinking inside Tuesday night.

Deputies arrested Presti and gave employees appearance tickets for violating city and state laws. 

That led to a peaceful protest of about 50 people outside the business. 

“You don’t selective enforce. You have all of these big box businesses that are wide open, making billons of dollars and these people, if they don’t survive, they’re going to go to ugly extremes, and that’s what’s going to happen, it’s going to be worse than the virus itself,” said Scott Lobaido, a protester.

No injuries were reported during the protest, and deputies say no further arrests were made. 

Mark Fonte, an attorney for the bar’s owners, told NY1 the officers from the city sheriff’s office showed up Tuesday night during a meeting between Presti and Fonte’s law partner. The bar was closed at the time, according to Fonte.

According to Fonte, Presti argued that he didn’t have to leave because the bar was not currently open for business and therefore not currently violating any rules. 


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