Licensing & Permit Committee defers new ordinance change

At yesterday’s Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, the ordinance change sponsored by Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia, adding six new liquor licenses for the city, was deferred for two weeks for further city attorney review.  LaMacchia spoke on the proposal:  “This ordinance change was not drafted with any particular individual in mind.”

Chairman Jesse Downing then relayed the three caveats that are being considered for the ordinance:  1) That the fees associated with the license be directed to the Tavern Squad for enforcement issues; 2)That the alderperson of the district give their approval; and 3) That, with two violations, the license will be suspended, and with three violations, the license will be revoked.

Downing said that the plan is, hopefully it will pass.  Deputy city attorney Matt Knight said that the licensee will still be entitled to a hearing.  All committee members were in agreement; the vote was 5 to 0 to defer.

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Other business conducted at the meeting included:

  • The bartender license of Joan Marie Eckert was revoked.  The vote was 4 to 1 (Alderperson Anthony Kennedy was the sole dissenting voter).
  • The action to revoke the beer license of Shell Food Plaza was dismissed due to an amended complaint that was provided to the owners listing recent violations.  They are being given time to review the most recent complaint.
  • The beer/liquor license of CVS Pharmacy on Washington Road and 22nd Avenue was suspended for 30 days.  When it’s reinstated, it will be with 80 demerit points attached.  Violations included sales of alcohol to underage persons and for operating without a licensed operator on the premises.  Kennedy strongly suggested that controls e put in place as soon as possible.  “They should have been put in place three times before,” he said.  (The pharmacy had four different violation dates.)
  • The outdoor extension license of the Clubhouse Pub & Grille was suspended for 90 days.  When it’s reinstated, it will be with 60 demerit points attached.  Violations included sales of alcohol to underage persons and operating the outdoor extension after permitted hours.  Neighbor Tony DeLuiso spoke on the establishment’s behalf.  “It’s been truly unbelievably good.  I never would have thought that, three years ago, that it would be this good.”
  • The beer/liquor license revocation of Puzzle House was deferred until the transfer.  At that time, Knight said that they will move to dismiss the complaint.
  • The findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations in the matter of the beer/liquor license of Bragados Banquets was approved unanimously, as was that of the Rendezvous Tiki Lounge, and Bull & Bear Eatery & Tavern.
  • Bragados Banquets had received 120 demerit points for operating without a cabaret license, purchasing fermented malt beverages from an unauthorized source, unauthorized sale of alcohol, and operating without an amusement device license from February 2011 to February 2012.  Alderwoman Chris Schwartz had previously suggested granting the license at 80 demerit points due to the violations occurring during the first year of the business and more than eight months without subsequent violations.  The committee had approved the license unanimously.
  • The Rendezvous Tiki Lounge incurred 200 demerit points on its beer and liquor license from October 2010 to August 2012 for three violations of having an underage person on the premises, selling alcohol to an underage person, purchasing liquor from an unauthorized source, and operating without a cabaret license.  The committee had previously voted to suspend the liquor license and outdoor extension for 15 days and then reinstate at 80 demerit points after the suspension.  Downing said at the meeting that, they didn’t get to see the police reports having to do with this case.  He told Knight that, for future hearings, it would be helpful to have read them.  In addition to the lounge having illegal alcohol on the premises, they also had doctored invoices.  “Had we known, we probably would have pushed for revocation,” he said.  “That would be considered fraud.”  Juliana agreed.  “There have would been a different outcome,” he said.
  • Bull & Bear had received 120 demerit points on its beer and liquor license from May 2011 to April 2012 for having an underage person on site, selling alcohol to an underage person, and two violations of operating without an amusement device license.

Police Chief John Morrissey spoke during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting.  He said that he had great respect for the committee, but he felt that the revocation punishments have not been appropriate.  He read verbatim from some e-mails that he had received regarding some serious trouble at  Bragados Banquets, involving officer safety.  “It’s out of control,” he said.  “The action taken was not significant enough.  I am going to do everything within my power to get another license revocation brought forward.  They are a public safety menace to the city of Kenosha.”

Kennedy stated that he thought that the police chief had the authority to shut them down now.

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