Last week, Alpha News published a story detailing one man's political persecution at the hands of a local business.
In the original story, Greg Aberle was made out to be an extremely loyal customer to Porter Creek Hardwood Grill in Burnsville, where he'd spent "what he estimates to be roughly $90,000" over the past nine years. This generosity was no match for Porter Creek's political correcness, according to Aberle, who said he'd been banned from the bar and restaurant "because of his support for Donald Trump."
Aberle told Alpha News -- which, again people: sucks -- his MAGA hat had been the subject of "snide comments" for some time running, and that he and his girlfriend have "never done a thing to warrant getting kicked out of that place, aside from wearing Trump hats."
Alpha's story underwent a dramatic change once Porter Creek got a chance to tell its side. According to the restaurant, Aberle's politics aren't the problem. His obnoxious behavior is.
"The person making the accusation, Mr. Aberle, has been to our restaurant many times and has frequently been disruptive," Porter Creek wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.
It continued (emphasis ours):
These behaviors have included not wearing shoes in the restaurant and restroom, bringing in food from other restaurants or from home and offering it to our guests, and asking us to change our policies to benefit him as he pleased rather than servicing all of our valued guests. We have had multiple complaints from guests about his behaviors. Since reopening after being closed for several weeks due to the Governor’s order relating to COVID-19, we have done our best to maintain a safe dining experience. During that time, Mr. Aberle has repeatedly demonstrated behaviors that did not show respect for our other guests’ space nor for our policies which are designed to service our guests. He has made repeated attempts to bend our rules in his favor at the expense of other guests."
Aberle apparently had little good will among staff, the post says, who found him an "extremely difficult guest that affected their work life and the dining experience of guests in our restaurant, and most felt he should not be welcomed back."
A subsequent Facebook post says you're welcome to wear any hats or attire to Porter Creek, political or otherwise, and that the restaurant has "always welcomed people from every political view and will continue to do so in the future."
In its story, Alpha News calls Aberle a "hometown hero," pointing to a 2017 story about his use of Dolphin Water Taxi, the company he owns, to deliver supplies and ferry Americans stranded in the Virgin Islands by Hurricane Irma. (As seen in a Fox 9 story, Aberle's heroism played out over the phone and computer from his home in Lakeville.)
Aberle comes off as slightly less heroic in a more recent tale about his treatment of Frank Allgaier, a retired New Yorker who entrusted his IRA account to Aberle after hearing him speak on a local radio station, which credited him as "Greg Peterson" -- and a financial expert.
Allgaier turned over an IRA account worth well over $200,000 in 2008, and asked Aberle to liquidate the account if it ever went below $150,000, according to a lawsuit; by February 2011, thanks to Aberle's use of "high-volume and risky strategies," the account was worth less than $85.
Aberle fought a trial in the lawsuit, first by filing for bankruptcy protection -- he claimed assets of $1.4 million and debts of $676,000. A trustee later determined Aberle had "fraudulently transferred 'substantially all of [his] business assets' to a friend or entities purportedly owned by the friend in response" to the lawsuit, among others, according to a court opinion.
Aberle, who fired his attorney and was representing himself, also tried ducking the lawsuit by skipping scheduled meetings, saying he could not travel to New York because he lives "paycheck to paycheck on my disability income and Social Security" (!) and couldn't find a pro bono attorney because he was "unaware of the legal workings of [New York]."
These complaints failed to impress the judge, and Allgaier was later awarded about $450,000 in damages.
Aberle's latest dispute may yet turn into a legal matter. On Monday, he posted to Facebook his attorney's response to Porter Creek, which sent Aberle a letter on Friday. Attorney John G. Westrook writes:
"A full review of the history of the animosity by some of your client’s staff to Mr. Aberle and his companions (as documented by email correspondence and audio recordings) will show my client’s support for President Trump was a substantial cause of your client’s decision to ban him from its premises."
Later in the letter, Westrick added:
"In summation, my client will not withdraw his comments or otherwise submit to your client’s demands. Your client has forgotten the rule of the hospitality industry: the customer is always right."
Funny. That didn't seem to be how Aberle felt when the customer was an old man who'd trusted him with his life savings.