Beaver Dam Common Council votes to suspend Johnny’s Lounge license

January 22, 2019

The Beaver Dam Common Council voted on Monday to suspend the liquor license for Johnny’s Lounge, which will lead to further legal action.

The council accepted the administrative committee’s recommendation to suspend the license for 15 straight days. The owner of Johnny’s, Amanda Hammen, has the right to appeal the decision in Dodge County Circuit Court, and her attorney Brent Eisberner said he will.

Johnny’s Lounge received enough points under Beaver Dam’s demerit system, 380 total, over two incidents to trigger a police complaint and a formal hearing late last year. With the vote, the council determined that the allegations against Johnny’s were true and that they violated the city’s code to require suspending the license.

The suspension vote passed on a 9-1 vote. Mick Fischer voted no. Ken Anderson, Kay Appenfeldt, David Hansen and Jon Abfall abstained from voting.

“There was no objection by attorney Eisberner for the events that occurred,” council member Robert Ballweg said. “In fact, they admitted that they did occur. ... I don’t think we have any choice but to affirm this decision.”

Johnny’s will soon receive official notice of the decision, but it will not happen or be wrapped up right away.

In a spoken objection to the council, Eisberner again argued that there have been parliamentary and technical errors with the way the way committee members went about the process, which the city denies. He has alleged, and did so again on Monday, that the system is not being applied equally to all bars.

“I can assure you a judge would be very focused on the procedural aspect of this enforcement action,” Eisberner said. He also said that he will file a federal lawsuit against the city of Beaver Dam, as well as Police Chief John Kreuziger and the complainant, Lt. Matthew Riel, in their individual capacities, given the decision.

In a 2017 incident, a bartender was accused of serving her boyfriend while he was on a no-alcohol order. The woman was found guilty of the charge in court after she pleaded no contest.

In a summer 2018 incident, a man allegedly sucker punched another man after an altercation, causing injuries. The man accused of throwing the punch received a citation for battery but never faced criminal charges, which Eisberner pointed out. Police said no one from the bar called them about the fight.

Eisberner has said he is prepared to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the city’s demerit points system.

Officials will likely hear soon about a separate incident at Johnny’s from Dec. 26. While the current hearing process was still going on, Johnny’s received 300 more demerit points after police alleged a woman was on the premises while underage.

The 20-year-old woman and a 21-year-old woman got into an altercation that night. The 20-year-old allegedly threw a beer bottle at the 21-year-old and hit her in the head with a glass after, she said, the 21-year-old used a racist slur.

Police recommended criminal charges for the two but they have not been charged with anything at this time.

Eisberner argued on Monday that, unlike the summer 2018 fight, somebody from Johnny’s did call the police, but the bar still received demerit points.

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