Bar One owners charged

By Dave Gomez

DeKalb police on Friday arrested and charged two Bar One owners with obstruction of justice after they allegedly fabricated surveillance footage to avoid being cited for ordinance violations.

Police said a 19-year-old woman was arrested Oct. 24 at Bar One, 1000 W. Lincoln Highway, for entering the bar as a minor. The woman told police she entered the bar without presenting any identification.

Later that morning, Bar One management contacted DeKalb police and said they had surveillance video showing the woman presenting an ID to enter.

Police said an investigation revealed the video employees presented to police actually had been filmed after the bar closed that morning. Police believe the video was given to them to shield the tavern from a possible ordinance violation for allowing a minor to enter.

“Some people that were involved in the making of [the video] got ahold of us,” said DeKalb police Lt. Jim Kayes.

Kayes declined to comment on their identities.

He said the 19-year-old woman left the scene but was contacted by someone at the tavern to appear in the video, although he could not specify if the caller was an employee.

There are no additional charges against her at this time, Kayes said.

A search warrant was served at Bar One on Oct. 28 during which the bar’s surveillance system was seized.

Police charged Bar One’s owners, Joey and James Sanfilippo, with obstructing justice, which is a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The incident will be referred to the DeKalb Liquor Commission, Kayes said.

Bar One’s liquor license is currently owned by the Sanfilippo family, with James and Joey listed as stockholders, said DeKalb City Clerk Donna Johnson, who also serves as deputy liquor commissioner.

Molly’s, 1022 W. Lincoln Highway, also is owned by the Sanfilippo family but is held by a different corporation, Johnson said.

Bar One is held by Liquor Store 200 Incorporated, while Molly’s is held by Liquor Store 100 Incorporated.

If a liquor law was violated at one establishment, it would not affect the other, Johnson said.

The charges are not the first time Bar One, formerly known as Amnesia, has had trouble with underage drinking.

Amnesia’s liquor license was suspended following a Dec. 5 party, during which James, then the manager of the tavern, told party organizers to have people over 21 years of age pass their IDs on to underage patrons that night. Patrons also paid a $10 cover charge, which is against local liquor ordinances, the city found.

Mayor Greg Sparrow, who serves as DeKalb’s liquor commissioner, said Bar One’s name change would not constitute an entirely clean slate because the bar still has the same owner.

Sparrow declined to comment on the investigation but said police and the city attorney would likely call for a liquor hearing.

James Sanfilippo declined to comment on the matter.