Metro

Man accused of forging signatures to block Cambridge bar

Fraud alleged in petition against bar license

A night out, or a ‘death mill?’
Torsten Schon/File image
A night out, or a ‘death mill?’

Xavier Dietrich and Kimberly Courtney saw a basement space near Harvard Square and imagined charcuterie, cheese, and fancy wines. To Sydney DePaulo, their proposed European-style bar looked more like a “death mill.”

A pitched battle over the planned Massachusetts Avenue establishment escalated Wednesday, when De-Paulo was arraigned on charges that he falsified signatures and made up names on a petition to stop the spot from getting food or liquor licenses last year.

Dietrich and Courtney have since pulled their applications, though they say they hope to revive the project.

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In the meantime, DePaulo faces allegations he falsified 35 signatures on a document he submitted to the Cambridge License Commission in March 2014.

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He has not entered a plea, and declined to comment, though police records say he claimed the owner of a nearby establishment put him up to it. A judge released DePaulo Wednesday on his own recognizance.

In the petition, DePaulo argued he didn’t want “my property values to go down because of new bars with a 2 a.m. license” in the neighborhood. It called for the city to “stop this from happening.”

“I have seen what bars will do to property values. It is a death mill. It is never a good thing to the surrounding neighborhood and property owners,” DePaulo said at the hearing, according to a transcript.

In November, the would-be barkeeps brought the petition to police. A police report said the document looked “unauthentic,” with the same print and style of handwriting used for each name and address.