They’re dropping like flies…
And Westport bar and restaurant owner Bill Nigro couldn’t be more pleased. That on the heels of word that two of Nigro’s worst nightmares have or are poised to move on. Kansas City Health department honcho Bert Malone and Liquor Control head Gary Majors.
“I heard that this is Majors last week,” Nigro says. “And Bert Malone just moved on, so the two guys who were most involved in regulating the restaurant and bar industry will have moved on in the past two months.”
On a scale of one to ten, how happy is Nigro?
“Um, about a nine on Majors – Gary did do a few things that were OK,” Nigro says. “And about an 81/2 on Bert Malone. Especially after I almost got arrested by the Health Department last St. Patrick’s Day.”
What? Wild Bill almost did some slam time?
“The Health Department came down to Westport and tried to arrest me for not having a permit to serve food in a private tent in front of Buzzard Beach,” Nigro says. “It was 10 a.m. and they went over and picked up six policemen from the parade route and they asked me why I wasn’t cooperating with the Health Department. So I said, ‘Show me the ordinance where I’m breaking the law.’ I wasn’t selling anything, we were just giving food away.”
So Nigro’s that badass that it took six cops to bust his butt?
“I don’t know, but that’s who they sent over,” he says. “They made me email my guest list to the Health Department by the next Monday to prove it was a private event. So in really big magic marker letters I wrote, ‘GUEST LIST’ and then below it I wrote, ‘John Doe.’ Then I faxed it in on the same complaint list the city made on me. I got called into Bert Malone’s office on that one and he told me that in the future I had to get a permit even if I was giving it away. And I said, ‘You don’t do that at Chiefs games.’
“I was giving away peanuts, crackers, goldfish, animal crackers – I even offered some animal crackers to the police when they came. I was just trying to make everybody laugh. I even said, ‘See that girl over there? I can invite her to over to my tent for some chips and dip and I don’t have to have a permit to do that and they all smiled.
“Here’s the thing that the Health department inspector asked me when they first came up. She said, ‘What’s this over there? This tent?’ And I said, ‘That’s for a private party.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Well, how do I know that?’ And I said, ‘Because I just told you. Do I look like a liar?’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll have to tear it down.’ I said, ‘There’s no such rule about having to have a guest list, you’re making that up.’ But that’s what the Health department does, they make up the rules as they go along.”
As for Majors, “I hear he’s taking a position in the Kansas City school system,” Nigro says. “Personally I’m glad he’s retiring or moving on to another job or whatever he’s doing. But these are the two guys who had the most restaurant and bar industry involvement and I’m glad to see them both go.”