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Committee moves to reconsider revocation process for Johnny’s Lounge

August 22, 2018

The Beaver Dam Common Council’s Administrative Committee will reconsider whether to start a liquor license revocation process for Johnny’s Lounge at its next meeting.

The bar, at 519 Madison St., received 230 points under the city’s demerit system over a fight with injuries that occurred in June, which police said went unreported by the establishment. Bars receive demerit points for violations such as unreported incidents or serving alcohol to a minor. Receiving over 200 points in a rolling 18-month period can lead to a recommendation from the police department that a bar lose its license.

Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger and City Attorney Maryann Schacht did just that after attempts at a settlement with Amanda Hammen, the bar’s owner, failed. At its previous meeting two weeks ago, the committee decided against moving forward with the court-style hearing process about possibly revoking the license. Instead, they directed Schacht to try again to negotiate a settlement.

Negotiations have not succeeded. Schacht said over several meetings, Hammen and her attorney, Brent Eisbernet, rejected offers that would involve the bar’s license being suspended temporarily.

The first offer was a 10-day suspension. The bar was then offered a suspension during a three-day weekend period of their choice, which was also rejected. Schacht said they also rejected an offer of three non-continuous weekend days of their choice, such as two particular Fridays and a particular Saturday.

Schacht said they wanted to be able to pick any three days of the week. Hammen was not in attendance on Monday night and Eisberner declined to speak with the media.

“The option was theirs,” Schacht said. “If you just say any days, I think you lose the reasoning of the demerit system and how we process that.”

The committee only decided to reconsider starting the revocation process for Johnny’s at its next meeting. Kara Nelson, Kay Appenfeldt, Kevin Burnett and Mary Morgan voted yes. Ken Anderson and David Hansen abstained.

Morgan was filling in as chairperson for Lisa Davidson, who was not present on Monday.

The city has gone through the revocation process, with witnesses and cross-examination, to revoke a license just once. Two other times, the bars voluntarily gave up their license before it reached that point.

Following a possible hearing, the committee can decide whether to forward a recommendation of suspension or revocation to the full Common Council.

The full council would have the ultimate authority on what to do about the license for Johnny’s. The demerit system is not binding.

According to police, on the night in question, a man tried to intervene in a fight between another man and a woman. A third man believed to be connected to the couple then allegedly sucker-punched the intervening man, who suffered injuries to his mouth and jaw.

Police say no one from the bar contacted them about the fight and the injured man came in to see them the next day. Police viewed camera footage of the incident.

However, the man who allegedly caused the fight has not been charged with a crime.

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