Former owner of popular Kent country bar dies

Galanti served recent prison sentence for tax evasion

A former Kent bar owner – sentenced a year ago to eight months in prison for tax evasion – has died.

Eric M. Galanti, 42, of Olympia, who owned the now-closed Bourbon Jacks country bar on Washington Avenue North, died Sunday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia of acute respiratory distress syndrome, said Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock. It was a death by natural causes, Warnock said.

Galanti was released Jan. 30 from prison, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. Records didn’t indicate how much time he served in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones sentenced Galanti on April 14, 2017, for multiple misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns. Jones also ordered Galanti to pay $800,000 in restitution to the IRS.

In addition to the popular Kent bar, Galanti owned Alki Crab & Fish restaurant and the Admiral Pub, each in West Seattle. Bourbon Jacks closed in Kent and the location now is a Willamette Dental Group clinic. A new Bourbon Jacks opened in Auburn.

Galanti remained on probation after his prison release. Court files indicate that his supervisory probation officer was informed about Galanti’s death by a relative on April 16.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said she could not disclose how much restitution Galanti had paid. She didn’t know how long he served in prison but said defendants not in custody usually have to report four to six weeks after sentencing.

Galanti failed to file his business and personal tax returns between 2006 and 2012 while living a lavish lifestyle, according to a press release last April from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to records filed in the case, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division found that Galanti’s businesses were generating significant revenues, but he failed to keep accurate records. Bank records show two of the restaurants had deposits of more than $7.7 million between 2006 and 2011.

While he failed to file and pay his taxes, Galanti used forged tax documents to facilitate his purchase of a $400,000 yacht; took expensive trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas and the Caribbean; and paid more than $10,000 for Kenny Chesney concert tickets.

Jim Rowe, a friend of Galanti’s, posted a comment on the Woodlawn Funeral Home of Lacey website about the former bar owner.

”Everything you would want from a friend,” Rowe said. “We had some of the best times together, shared our struggles, laughed lots. So many memories that make me smile and cry – floating the river, Nashville, boating, blackjack, Vegas, carnival bar, you taught me how to cook the best fish and chips and a great burger. Heck, I own a country bar because of you. You definitely left us too early but not without giving us all so much. Rest In Peace my friend.”

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