Former St. Cloud Press Bar owner pleads guilty to arson

The owner of The Press Bar and Parlor in St. Cloud has pleaded guilty to federal arson charges in an attempt to get insurance money. 

Andrew Welsh, 42, pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of arson for intentionally setting fire to the popular bar on Feb. 17, 2020. 

Federal prosecutors said he used gasoline to set a fire in his office, which was located in the basement of the bar. The fire spread and destroyed the bar, the remainder of which had to be demolished

Days after the fire, Welsh filed an insurance claim seeking a payout of $1,430,123.28 for property damage and other losses from the fire, with the U.S. Attorney's Office stating Welsh "falsely stated" the losses were not caused by him when he knew he started the fire that destroyed the bar. 

He was charged with arson in March 2020 and then was charged in federal court in December 2020. A sentencing date hasn’t been set, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.