As Montreal's most prolific, and, arguably, infamous, bar owner and landlord, Peter Sergakis never lingers far from the headlines. The surly boss of Sports Station, PJ's Pub, and Cabaret Les Amazones strip club, to name a few, is currently mired in two separate battles that could threaten his interests. The first, a scuffle over bar permits in the Gay Village, involves powerful real estate investors Danny Lavy and Stephen Shiller. The business partners want the city to compensate them to the tune of $1.85 million for bureaucratic errors made as part of a long, protracted showdown with Sergakis over their acquired right to sell booze at 1450 Sainte-Catherine Est at Code Club. That address so happens to be located next to Sergakis' vast Sky bar complex. Citing an alleged 1999 noise ordinance imposing a minimum distance of 25 metres between bars in the Village, Sergakis has doggedly defended his turf and sought to have Lavy and Shiller's permit rescinded. "When I opened Sky in 2000, I made sure with the city that this place could not have disco. I lost a lot of money because of this unfair competition." This past May Lavy and Shiller won the right to appeal a judge's decision that they had lost their acquired right to sell alcohol on the premises—the case is ongoing and the bar is very much in operation.
Revenu Québec has drawn the ire of Sergakis as well. As of today, the government agency will begin to install sales recording modules at bars across the province. What began with restaurants in 2010 as a move to prevent fraud has been in the works for bars for some time. "The nice thing about the sales recording module is that any kind of transaction and every single transaction will be recorded, so for us that's a nice way to fight tax evasion," Stéphane Dion, a Revenu Québec spokesperson, told the CBC.
Many bar owners across the province are upset over the measure because, subsidy offers from the government aside, they have to foot the bill for the equipment themselves. Quebec City estimates that it loses up to $76 million a year because of unreported bar income. Sergakis, who also serves as the president of Quebec's largest bar owners' association, is not amused and told TVA: "The officials who made these plans do not know how a bar runs. Why penalize us with systems that make life more complicated?" Despite his protests, the sales recording modules are here to stay at bars across the province—the government reports that it has collected close to an additional $1 billion since they were implemented at restaurants in 2010. This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Danny Lavy and Stephen Shiller still have a liquor license for 1450 Sainte-Catherine Est.