Public House Restaurant goes up for Auction

Fresno, CA The Public House was open Wednesday night and actually had a decent crowd. The future of the restaurant is unclear. Sales are way down, bills are continuing to stack up and some employees are getting frustrated.

Even with the quaint charm of a traditional Irish Pub ... The once popular Public House, has few visitors these days.

Next door work continues on "The Edge Night Club", as owner Kirk Vartanian prepares for the big grand opening bash in a week.

Vartanian says, like many, he's curious to see the outcome of Wednesday's auction, he is not showing up to bid but tells Action News quote "I am talking with the current owners about possibly purchasing or taking over the business."

Public House Principal Owner Milt Barbis could not be reached for comment.

Two weeks ago yellow police tape surrounded his businesses and home after state insurance investigators came to look into possible fraud.

According to search warrants, Barbis filed two insurance claims in February amounting to $268,900.

The investigation was sparked by a Fresno Police detective and a former General Manager of Cabo Wabo.

Reports reveal the officer told investigators, "He believed the reports were fabricated and made in an attempt to receive money from an insurance claim."

As of Tuesday night, Action News has learned several employees were not paid for their work over the past two weeks. They say they were only told there was not enough funding.

Vartanian said he would ensure the employees were paid even though he has no legal obligation to do so.

He believes business has taken a plunge recently. "Because of the search warrants on May 28th, people think the Public House is closed and business is suffering."

Kirk Vartanian told me that he is focusing on getting the Edge Night Club up and running. But he would like to eventually own this whole development known as Granite Park.

The auction is Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m.

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