RACINE — A northside bar could lose its liquor license after patrons were charged in drunken driving incidents that killed two people and seriously injured others.
The City Council’s Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted 2-0 on Tuesday to recommend that the owner of Kenny’s on Main, 1300 N. Main St., Kenneth R. Meyer be called before the committee for a due process hearing.
The committee, which makes recommendations to the City Council on the granting, denying, suspending and revoking of liquor licenses, calls due process hearings to determine whether an establishment should be allowed to continue serving alcohol.
Addressing committee members and a handful of others gathered in a third-floor committee room at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., committee chairman, Alderman Jeff Coe said Meyer had been called before the committee to discuss two underage patrons of the bar who had been involved in two car accidents last month, one of them fatal.
The first incident, a single-vehicle crash that injured five people including a 20-year-old, occurred on Saturday, June 20. The second incident, a two-vehicle accident that took the life of two men, one of them a 30-year-old father, occurred a day later on June 21. Police allege a 19-year-old patron of the bar was a passenger of the car that struck the men’s vehicle.
IDs and incidents
Asked to explain how he had underage patrons in the bar Meyer was matter-of-fact. He said that typically the bar checks IDs using a scanner, but that unbeknownst to him the scanner was not working the weekend of June 20.
“They told me that they checked IDs,” Meyer said.
Coe noted that bar had been “popping up a lot lately” in incident reports the committee gets from Racine police, even as recently as Sunday, July 5, when officers were called to the bar just after 2 a.m. in reference to a report of a large group fighting in the road and someone firing a gun.
Asked for his input, the committee’s police liaison, Sgt. Richard Rivers noted that bar also did not have indoor surveillance during the weekend of June 20.
Meyer told the committee that he recently had to replace the DVD system, because it had burnt out. He added that his staff had been closing the bar at Midnight since July 1, in effort to reduce problems.
Alderman Jim Kaplan, who does not sit on the committee but within whose district Kenny’s is located, implored the committee to do something to address the situation at the bar.
“Over the last few years I have repeatedly asked for something to be done,” Kaplan said. “I guess the corker were these two accidents ... To have deaths like that – you never want to have it happened at your establishment, but people get oiled up at different places, and they usually have a place that they came from.”
“Sorry Kenneth, but I only get calls about your bar. I don’t get calls about any other tavern in the 4th District,” he added.
At first Alderman Ray DeHahn made a motion to simply have the committee keep an eye on the bar, and see if the earlier closing time improved things, but the committee moved to recommend going to a due process hearing after former 15th District Alderman Bob Mozol stood up and volunteered to sign a complaint needed for such a hearing.
“One of the accidents occurred right by my house. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t hear too many facts here tonight,” Mozol said. “There’s only way to hear some facts on the record that is with a due process hearing.”
The committee’s recommendation now moves to the full City Council, which will consider whether to call a due process hearing when it meets next week.
Meyer declined to comment on the committee’s recommendation.
This will be first the bar has been recommended for a due process hearing.
In the summer of 2013 the bar was called before the before the committee after a patron smoking on the patio was shot in the buttocks, but the committee agreed to monitoring the situation after Meyer said he would start closing early.