Shell Plaza loses beer license

Shell LogoAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, it was voted to approve the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee to revoke the beer license of Shell Food Plaza, located at 11748 – 75th Street.  This was a voice vote.  It was not an unanimous decision; there were a couple of no’s that rang out, which couldn’t be identified definitively.

Ray Misner, of the Licensing and Community Standards Consultants of Wisconsin, LLC, spoke on behalf of the licensee, although he stated that he was not his legal counsel.  He handed out a packet to the Council members and to Steve Cain, the legal counsel for the Common Council.  Misner stated that the old agent, Yolo Yolov, was no longer employed by the corporation.  “The successor agent is a temporary placeholder until approved for permanent placement.”  He made the case that the revocation was against the agent, the employee, and not the corporation.  The recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee is for revocation.  He said that the demerit points should not be applied to the corporation or to the new agent.  He stated that he was challenging the revocation.

Misner admitted that there were issues at the establishment.  “These have been addressed,” he said.  “They removed alcohol from the store and cleaned house.  I gave them a four-hour training program.  And, I advised them not to bring alcohol back into the store until they are fully confident that all of the problems have been resolved.  They terminated the employees who violated the rules,” he said.  He was asking for a deferral so that the legal counsel, Cain, and the city attorney’s office could review and advise.

He and his client want to cooperate with the city and avoid legal counsel fees.  The old agent is gone, the points should be gone,” he said.  Misner said that he wanted to offer up a 60-day suspension as a compromise.  He also stated that, because he was prevented from asking questions at prior meetings, that he was prepared to bring a court action.

Alderperson Anthony Kennedy requested going into closed session, but Cain said that that could not be done because it was not noticed as such.  Alderperson Steve Bostrom said that he was going to be abstaining because he has the new applicant’s home listed for sale.

Alderperson Jesse Downing and chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee, said that there have already been two hearings on this license revocation.  The committee decided to revoke because of the excess demerit points.  Downings comments were:  “This is the third time they have been in front of us for selling to minors.  The first time it was rescinded, and a new hearing was scheduled.  Then, they received six more citations and two from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department.  The rest of the Common Council didn’t know that; we did.  It’s not the agent that’s bad, it’s the corporation that’s bad with their training.  I agree with Misner.  There is no other avenue except revocation on this basis.  I am not changing my decision at the eleventh hour.  The license should be revoked.”

Kennedy asked the city attorney about the demerit point tracking system.  “Is it a tracking system or of a punitive nature?”  The reply that came from Matt Knight, deputy city attorney, was that it was a tracking system.  The license is issued to the business, not the agent.  It’s the corporation that receives the license, not the agent.  The agent is reviewed for qualifications according to state statute.  “Plus, it’s not proper to transfer agents in the middle of a revocation hearing.  There can be no sidestepping of the rules,” he said.

Kennedy continued by saying that he thanked the chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee for his comments. “The agent promised no problems.  That was back in 2006.  They said that they would fire their employees; they did not.  I’m happy to see a consultant.  I hope to never see them here again. They need help in training.  The best way to help is to revocate.”

Alderperson Tod Ohnstad called the question.  The roll call vote to call for the questions was 11 to 4.  Those voting against ending the debate were Alderpersons Eric Haugaard, Kevin Mathewson, Anthony Kennedy, and David Bogdala.  Alderperson Steve Bostrom abstained.

Misner continued talking.  The vote to concur with the recommendation and to revoke the license was then approved.

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