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Settlement deal reached in bars lawsuit

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RACINE — A settlement agreement has been reached in the city bars lawsuit.

News of the deal was revealed Monday night after a closed-session meeting of the City Council’s Executive Committee which, according to a posted agenda, had gathered to confer with its legal counsel in the case.

The committee did not make any vote before coming into open session, but after the meeting City Attorney Scott Letteney confirmed that a settlement deal had been reached.

Letteney declined to provide further detail, but said the details of the agreement were expected to be presented during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, where aldermen would be asked to approve the deal.

The City Council must approve the deal before it can be carried out, Letteney said.

“The parties have agreed that the terms of the proposed settlement agreement will not be publicly discussed by either side until after the (City) Council takes action,” Letteney said. “There will be an agenda item recommending approval of the proposed settlement on (Tuesday) night’s council agenda.”

The seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit first sued the city in February 2014, accusing Mayor John Dickert and more than 15 other defendants of engaging in an elaborate plot to drive minority bar owners out of the city.

Since that date, the plaintiffs’ case has shrunk dramatically, both in the number of defendants being sued and the violations being claimed.

The revelation of a deal in the lawsuit comes a week after attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a 126-page motion opposing a motion for summary judgment filed by the city in August. In its motion, the city argued the case should not go to trial, stating there is no proof the city and other defendants racially discriminated against the plaintiffs or their businesses.

In its brief opposing the city’s motion, attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that ample evidence of discrimination exists.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave.

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