Town official's comments about New Jersey bar spark controversy

KENILWORTH, New Jersey (WABC) -- A bar in New Jersey has been the subject of complaints over it's raucous atmosphere, but now those complaints are being drowned out by the shock over comments made by a town official.

The incident happened at the Gavelstone Bar and Grill on South Michigan Avenue.

Anthony Cuppari was an alternate member of the town's planning board who also has tenants who live near the bar.

"A lot of times culturally it is different. We don't drink Hennessy here and we don't drink Ciroc. It's just things like that," he was recorded saying on a phone call to the bar owner.

Bartender Valeria Pierro recorded it on her phone.

"I was saddened, I was shocked," Pierro said.

Everyone involved acknowledges there are issues between homeowners and the bar customers' parking as well as noise and trash issues.

"We hear their complaints and we are trying to work with them," Pierro said.

The mayor said he is trying to help address the nuisance complaint issues.

"When you live in a small town, where residents live close to a bar, there's a learning process, both side have to learn to compromise with each other," Mayor Anthony DeLuca said.

But some think the recorded phone call makes it an issue of race.

"Completely appalling, that's not this town, it's not who we are as people," DeLuca said.

Cuppari has since been forced off the planning board.

The mayor says he is determined to make sure the bar and its neighbors reach a happy medium.

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