I really don't see what was inappropriate or inflamatory about the comments. Several things do come to my mind about the transaction.
1. the diner should have asked before eating (or even before showing up) if the gift cards would be accepted.
2. the restaurant should post the policy as not everyone knows there was an ownership change without a name change
When the business was sold there was a transfer of assets and/or liabilities. The liability for gift certs that was carried on the books would have been part of the transaction. Therefore, the new owner should honor those certs. He already constructively received the funds. It is not good service to decide not to honor outstanding gift certs and as the owner can see, word does get around in this town.
And PW, if you lock this thread also could you please say why?