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    September 22

  • 08:12 PM

Bar boss charged in beating of food critic

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 25 June 2010

ALBANY, New York – A bar owner with a history of legal scrapes was charged with hiring a man to beat up the food critic for a newspaper that has reported on the restaurateur’s checkered past.Timothy Rankins, 41, is accused of having associates assault Steve Barnes, the Albany Times Union’s food writer, as he left a restaurant with a friend in October 2008. Barnes, who occasionally wrote about Rankins’ restaurants, had posted on the newspaper’s website that he would be dining there that night.Two men wearing gloves set upon the men and began throwing punches as they left the restaurant around 9:30 p.m. October 17, 2008.“My face is swollen and bloody,” Barnes wrote on his blog the next day. “One of my knees, one elbow, one wrist and the back of my head are ailing. Josh (his friend, Joshua Carr) hurts in a variety of places.”Rankins was arraigned yesterday in Albany County Court on a misdemeanour assault charge that carries up to a year in jail if he’s convicted. Prosecutors had asked for US$20 000 (BDS$40 000) bail, but a judge set the amount at US$5 000 (BDS$10 000) and Rankins was freed.“He . . . has entered a not guilty plea,” lawyer Paul DerOhannesian told the Times Union.The paper’s police reporter has written about Rankins’ cozy connections to city officials, including that police officers were frequently seen dining for free at one of Rankins’ restaurants.The paper has also reported on his indictment on charges that he failed to pay US$191 000 (BDS$382 000) in taxes, that he surrendered his liquor licence after a raid at one of his restaurants netted more than 200 underage drinkers. (AP)

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