Aspen’s Whisky Rush fined up to $1,500 |

Aspen’s Whisky Rush fined up to $1,500

Whiskey Rush agreed to pay up to $1,500 in fines Tuesday resulting from an alleged mishandling of a bar brawl in February. Sitting in the front left row are Whiskey Rush owner Andrew Sandler, left, and bar manager Andy Pappani.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Whiskey Rush owner Andrew Sandler has agreed to pay a fine of as much as $1,500 stemming from a February bar brawl that the Galena Street nightclub allegedly failed to immediately report to police.

Sandler appeared before the Local Licensing Authority on Tuesday, where the two sides reached a settlement agreement. The deal will result in a fine between $1,300 and $1,500, depending on Whiskey Rush alcohol sales records, but the nightclub will retain its liquor license. The settlement did not require an admission of guilt.

Bar manager Andy Pappani, who was working the night of the incident with Sandler, said a doorman and security guard have been fired as a result of their handling of the situation. A bartender, who physically intervened during the bar brawl, also has seen his shifts rotated, Pappani said.

Sandler said Tuesday that despite the hefty fine and legal fees he will have to pay, the worst part of the incident is “the two guys who started (the fight) got deferred judgments.”

Sandler’s attorney Chris Bryan said the experience has helped Whiskey Rush understand that the term “immediately,” as written in the code, means without delay.

“It’s not as if anyone was trying to cover anything up,” Bryan said. “They were trying to render aid. They were trying to help people. They were trying to clean up glass so no one else got injured.”

Giacomo Di Bartolomeo and Nicholas Connolly, both 21, received deferred judgments from the Aspen Municipal Court in connection to their alleged involvement in the Feb. 12 incident. Assistant City Attorney Debbie Quinn said that the two men did not have criminal records and the penalty is a standard disposition. They were each fined $150, ordered to complete 10 hours of community service and prohibited from entering Whiskey Rush during the six-month probation period.

According to a police affidavit, the Feb. 12 incident involved two fights in which multiple people were injured by glass objects. Two Aspen Police officers responded to a medical call at the bar around 1 a.m. Feb. 12 and made contact with four injured individuals. Among them were two males tending to wounds with blood-soaked rags and a female who was holding a bandage to her forearm.

According to court records, many witnesses agree that the fight started on the dance floor following a verbal altercation between Di Bartolomeo and another young male.

After the man went to the bathroom to attend to his injuries, other witnesses described a second fight that broke out. Also in the reports, Connolly is mentioned as a friend of Di Bartolomeo who may have been involved in one or both of the fights. Di Bartolomeo provided a different version of events, saying he attempted to break up a scuffle between a friend and another man, and that he did not instigate any of the fights.

According to a statement from officer Jeff Fain, there was sufficient evidence to determine probable cause that Whiskey Rush violated the law by failing to immediately report the incident to police.

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