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Italian restaurant owners who said 'we ain't paying crap' after $10,000 in COVID-19 fines just beat left-wing Pennsylvania governor in court

Bada-bing!

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Over the summer, the co-owner of Taste of Sicily — an Italian restaurant in Palmyra, Pennsylvania — made headlines when he defied left-wing Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 shutdown mandates and scoffed at the $10,000 in fines that came along with them.

"Some rob you with a gun, while others rob you with a pen," co-owner Mike Mangano declared to PennLive at the time, referring to Wolf. "We ain't paying crap."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Well, it appears he was right.

What's the background?

The restaurant opened at full capacity in May — a violation of Wolf's shutdown orders — and the eatery didn't require masks or social distancing, and plexiglass barriers weren't up, the station said.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Mangano cited financial struggles for the decision to reopen, WHP-TV reported.

The restaurant's attorney Eric Winter said as much, telling the station "the business needed it. The family needed it, and they needed to do things to survive. They went ahead and reopened. And at that point, they had great support from the local level elected officials."

But not from the state government. The Department of Agriculture delivered citations to the Taste of Sicily with fines amounting to $10,000.

Mangano, however, told PennLive the restaurant wouldn't shut down its dining room — or even pay the fines: "There's absolutely no fear here. We're going to continue to come to work, and the governor ain't going to do anything about it."

"We don't care what the repercussions may be. We want the world to see how ridiculous it is for being penalized to go to work," he said in a June press conference. "Nobody's asking business owners to take up arms or go to war. Open your doors already."

Winning in court

WHP said Taste of Sicily took the matter up in court — and won.

"We were absolutely ecstatic," Mangano told the station. "You know a lot of people said a lot of different things about Taste of Sicily. We were selfish. All we cared about was business and money, and it's like we need to make a living."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Winter told WHP the Department of Agriculture couldn't lawfully cite them for opening early and that citations must be prosecuted by the attorney general or local district attorney.

Judge Carl Garvey ruled the family business was unconstitutionally cited and the restaurant was found not guilty, the station said, adding that Winter noted Taste of Sicily's owners won't have to pay any fines, and they're waiting for a hearing date against the Department of Agriculture.

What did the governor have to say?

Gov. Wolf, a Democrat, on Monday told WHP-TV that he plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

"The issue in terms of the upsurge has been restaurants and bars, so I think looking at how we deal with those restaurants is an important policy tool and part of anybody trying to address the challenge with this pandemic," Wolf told the station.

Taste of Sicily wins lawsuit against Governor Wolf youtu.be

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