Rudy’s alcohol license suspended for good

Michael Gatto’s parents were in attendance at the City Council hearing set to vote on a settlement concerning Jonathan Starkey’s, owner of Rude Rudy’s, alcohol license.

Nadia Dreid

Rude Rudy’s owner Jonathan Starkey accepted a settlement proposed by the Statesboro Department of Public Safety Wednesday morning forfeiting his alcohol license for Rude Rudy’s.

Under the settlement, Starkey agreed to forfeit all rights to hold an alcohol license in Statesboro in the future and that “any entity in which Jonathan Earl Starkey has a legal or equitable interest,” would never be issued an alcohol license by the city of Statesboro.

The Statesboro City Council voted unanimously to approve the settlement. Afterwards, Katherine Gatto, the mother of former-Georgia Southern University student Michael Gatto, read a statement before the council.

Her son, Michael Gatto, died last month after sustaining head injuries in an altercation at Rude Rudy’s.

“Rude Rudy’s is a predatory establishment,“ Katherine Gatto said. “Like a pedophile owning a candy store next to a preschool.”

Katherine Gatto’s husband stood by her as she thanked the city council for their decision, but made clear she felt underage drinking is a problem in Statesboro and there is more to be done.

“Underage drinking is profitable here in Statesboro and there are lots of fingers in the pie. It’s a serious problem that has existed here for years,” Katherine Gatto said. “The city of Statesboro has largely looked the other way and my son is dead.”