Bar owner charged in food critic’s assault

25 Jun

ALBANY, NY — A bar owner who had owned a downtown restaurant raided by authorities when dozens of underaged drinkers were being served there has been charged with having a newspaper food critic assaulted.

Timothy Rankins, 41, owner of the Envy Lounge and former owner of Pearl Restaurant & Lounge, was arraigned in Albany County Court on a misdemeanor assault charge Thursday.

He is accused of having associates beat up Steve Barnes as the Albany Times Union’s food writer and blogger and a friend left a suburban Guilderland restaurant in October 2008. Bail for Rankins was set at $5,000. His lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Jason Spiegel, the brother of a professional fighter from Troy, was charged Thursday with taking part in the attack. Her had been charged earlier, but that was dismissed by a judge who cited prosecutorial error.

The Times Union has extensively reported on Rankins’ connections to city officials, charges that he failed to pay $191,000 in taxes, that he had served free meals to uniformed city police officers, and that he had received police favors despite being listed as one of the city’s worst parking scofflaws.

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Posted by on June 25, 2010 in Courts


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