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Beaver Dam Common Council reviews Johnny’s Lounge demerit report

January 8, 2019

The Beaver Dam Common Council requested a formal objection from Johnny’s Lounge as the bar faces a liquor license suspension.

The council reviewed the report from a court-style hearing last month as part of the city’s demerit process. Bars receive points from the police department for certain violations, such as serving alcohol to somebody underage, and receiving more than 200 points in a rolling 18-month period triggers a process that could lead to a bar losing its license.

Johnny’s is currently in that process following one incident in 2017 in which a woman allegedly served her boyfriend while he was on a no-alcohol order and one from 2018 over an alleged fight with injuries in which no one from the bar called police. The two incidents pushed Johnny’s over 200 points.

Following the hearing last month, which included testimony from witnesses involved in the two incidents, the council’s Administrative Committee recommended that Johnny’s license, under owner Amanda Hammen, be suspended for 15 days.

Hammen’s attorney, Brent Eisberner, has filed a written objection about the committee’s decision, but the council is providing for him to present a verbal objection at the council’s meeting on Jan. 21, when it will make a final vote on the suspension.

The council set this up with 10 yes votes, with Ken Anderson, David Hansen, Kay Appenfeldt and Mick Fischer abstaining.

Eisberner and Hammen were present on Monday and left after the council’s vote. Eisberner has signaled that he is prepared to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the city’s demerit point system in court.

In the 2017 incident, the bartender pleaded no contest to the charge that she served her then-boyfriend, now husband, alcohol while he was under a court order not to drink.

In the June 2018 incident, police allege that a man punched another man in the face following an altercation, causing injuries, and that no one who worked at the bar notified police. The man who allegedly caused the injuries was not charged in Dodge County Circuit Court over the fight.

City Attorney Maryann Schacht told the Administrative Committee on Monday that she will soon bring it more information about another demerit point incident for Johnny’s Lounge.

Johnny’s received 300 more demerit points on Dec. 26 following an alleged fight involving an underage drinker.

Police alleged that a 20-year-old woman was improperly at the bar, where she and another patron got into an altercation, leading the 20-year-old to throw a beer bottle at the other woman and hit her with a beer glass, causing injuries. The 20-year-old told police she was angered during the altercation after the other woman used a racist slur toward her, according to the police complaint.

Police have issued citations in the incident and have requested charges, but no one has been charged yet.

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