The owner of an upstate New York diner who became famous earlier this year for his “Dictator Obama” breakfast special has pleaded guilty to swindling the state government out of over $23,000 in welfare assistance.
Michael P. Tassone, the owner and operator of the American Diner in the small lakeside town of Liverpool, N.Y., had his big brush with fame back in March when news of his “Dictator Obama” menu item bubbled up across America, reports The Post-Standard, the main newspaper in nearby Syracuse.
The “Dictator Obama” — alternatively called the “NYS Special” and the “King Cuomo” — is a couple eggs and some toast priced at $3.59 with a hefty $27.99 tax attached.
Another unique menu on Tassone’s diner menu is “The Anti-Michelle Obama Don’t Tell Me What To Eat Or Feed My Kids Burger.” (RELATED: The School Lunches Malia And Sasha Eat Vs. The Crap Michelle Obama Has Foisted On America)
The large menu at Tassone’s small restaurant — open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., every day — encourages customers to carry legal guns “on premise” and also to say “prayer/grace.” There’s also a 50 percent discount for “on duty” members of the U.S. military and a 10 percent discount for card-carrying members of the National Rifle Association.
Outside the restaurant are American flag decals and “Don’t Tread on Me” signs. There are also signs urging customers to “Repeal the SAFE Act” — a strict state gun-control law.
Tassone was first arrested back in 2011.
“It was Medicaid fraud,” assistant district attorney Michael Kasmarek told the Post-Standard. “They had failed to disclose income on their application. As a result they obtained Medicaid benefits they weren’t entitled to, from May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2011.”
The criminal case against Tassone and his wife, Michelle, proceeded agonizingly slowly because prosecutors allowed Tassone to reimburse the state.
Prosecutors say the couple received Medicaid benefits for which they were not eligible because their income was too high to be eligible.
Medicaid is health-care program for people who have little or no income.
In March, the Post-Standard sent reporters to check out the American Diner.
“It’s very refreshing for people to stand up for true American values,” customer Ashley Reininghaus told the newspaper.
“The reason why we came here was to show support for like-minded people,” the woman’s husband, Steve Reininghaus, added.
The couple proudly noted that they support presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president.
Tassone and his wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of offering a false instrument for filing on May 5.
A judge has sentenced the Tassones to a year of conditional discharge — basically probation light.
The couple has also paid restitution in the amount of $23,354.
The county district attorney has dismissed a more severe charge of felony welfare fraud against the Tassones.