NYC councilman accuses Cuomo and de Blasio of targeting a Staten Island restaurant at a 9/11 event

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A fired up New York City councilman unloaded on Democratic leaders for what he saw as a hit job against a local restaurant over alleged violations of coronavirus orders.

Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli tore into Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio in a series of tweets slamming the “goons” at the State Liquor Authority after a Staten Island restaurant had its liquor license revoked and may face a $25,000 fine for allegedly ignoring COVID-19 guidelines. The worst part, Borelli noted, was that the alleged violation happened during the eatery’s fundraiser for 9/11 victims.

(Image: WABC screenshot)

Joyce’s Tavern in Staten Island was “getting killed financially” because of the pandemic and New York City’s oppressive orders, according to the Minority Whip of the New York City Council.

But the restaurant had never been visited by the State Liquor Authority nor had any violations until the unannounced inspection last week, coincidentally following the fundraising event held on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Sorry about the foul language. I’m mad,” Borelli wrote in a follow-up tweet apologizing for the profanity in some of his earlier comments.

The councilman related that the business let him do a book-signing event the day before, held in an outdoor location as indoor dining is still not allowed at area restaurants. Cuomo announced last week that diners would be allowed to be seated inside again starting Sept. 30, but capacity will be limited to 25% amid strict safety guidelines.

“I advertised the event from the same twitter acnt I use to bash Cuomo & de Blasio on a daily basis. The bar also has flags that wld make it seem like it was right-leaning,” Borelli wrote.

He then shared that SLA officials made a “surprise random inspection” and questioned if there was a complaint made.

The lawmaker explained that Joyce’s Tavern had joined with a group of their local restaurants to donate proceeds from the night’s business to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that “honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001.”

Borelli noted there was a long wait as patrons answered the call.

He recounted how the SLA came in and took away the liquor license without any warnings and the owners were “not allowed to defend themselves” at a hearing the next day.

“Joyce’s will now likely face a $25,000 fine. This will put them out of business. The fam will go bust, the workers will be on unemployment,” he wrote.

“How do we accept this as normal? How do we let a neighborhood business that was giving back to our 9/11 families and first responders just get fined out of business. How does the SLA inspector sleep at night? How do Cuomo & de Blasio ?” Borelli demanded.

He also noted that the Staten Island eatery, which got its initial liquor licensing in 2015, was part of a lawsuit against the city and state by a group of area businesses, including Joe Germanotta, owner of Joanne Trattoria and father of pop superstar Lady Gaga.

“Obviously, we were concerned that Joyce’s might be targeted,” Lou Gelormino and Mark Fonte, the attorneys who represent Joyce’s Tavern, said, according to SILive.com.

“The OToole family operates their restaurant in a socially responsible manner and has followed every one of governor’s executive orders. We intend to vigorously defend their restaurant and more importantly their reputation. We will speaking to the SLA this week and hope to resolve this matter quickly,” they said in a statement.

U.S. Congressman Max Rose blasted the “arbitrary and unpatriotic punishment” in a tweet on Sunday.

New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis questioned whether it was a “coincidence” as well, and called out how businesses are being “harassed and targeted.”

The restaurant owners thanked supporters and announced they would be open on Monday for takeout orders.

A GoFundMe account set up to help has already exceeded the $40,000 goal set by organizers.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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