Owner of St. Cloud bar pleads guilty to arson

May 6, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The owner of a St. Cloud bar that was destroyed by fire in February of 2020 has pleaded guilty to intentionally setting the fire.

According to court documents, Andrew Charles Welsh used gasoline to set fire to his office in the Press Bar and Parlor as part of a scheme to fraudulently collect nearly $1.5 million of insurance money. The fire eventually spread and resulted in the total destruction of the building.

On February 24, 2020, Welsh retained a Public Insurance Adjuster to help with the insurance claims related to the fire. Welsh admitted to falsely claiming, “said loss did not originate by any act, design, or procurement on the part of your insured,” when he knew his arson caused the loss.

Welsh pleaded guilty to one count of arson. A sentencing date has not been set.