The Santa Barbara bar, Bo Henry’s Cocktail Lounge, was closed for five days in December for allegedly allowing a minor in. Owner Robert Eringer, a retired local author and convicted fraudster, closed the bar for five days instead of paying the fine of $200.
He told Santa Barbara news service Noozhawk that he chose to close rather than pay, because “by losing shifts [our staff] will learn a lesson about the importance of strictly enforcing the law.”
Observers, however, criticized the decision to punish the entire bar staff for a mistake likely made by only one person. “It also makes you wonder how much the bar turns over, if Eringer would rather shut for five days than pay $200,” a local source added.
Eringer has lived in Europe for many years and is known to condone under-aged drinking. But what might be acceptable in Europe is not so in the US. He risks losing his bar’s licence if Bo Henry is found offending again.
Given his criminal past, the Californian Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control may review the licence to Eringer’s Bo Henry bar and decide the proprietor is not fit to run such an establishment. The self-styled former spy was convicted in 2011 in France of publishing libellous material of Prince Albert of Monaco and ordered to pay €20,000 plus €7,000 in legal fees and additional fees for every day the material remains on Eringer’s blog. He was also sued by several others closed to Prince Albert for defamation.
A decade earlier, Eringer was sued together with the infamous Feld family and former CIA-agent Clair George (himself implicated in the Iran-Contra affair) by an investigative journalist, Janice Pottker, for invasion of privacy, fraud and infliction of mental distress for $60m. It is not known how this case was settled, but Eringer played a central role in the deception of Pottker that lasted for over nine years, during which he posed as a literary agent and distracted Pottker from writing an investigative book on the Feld family.
On the bar’s website, bohenry.com, Eringer condones excessive consumption of alcohol and regularly publishes posts on hangover cures. His European attitude to allowing minors drink combined with his proven track record as a fraudster may result in the licence being permanently revoked.