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.


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.