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Business Directory S-Z : Index: Taverns & Saloons

Sussex Inn


Puls, Charles G. "Charlie" "Chuck"

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Sunday, October 14, 2007
Author: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
 
Puls, Charles G. "Charlie" "Chuck" Of Menomonee Falls. Ushered from this life's many health issues into the arms of Jesus on Oct. 12, 2007, at the age of 76 years. Beloved husband of Gertrude (nee Koepsell) for 46 years. Loving father of Mark of Philips, WI, Julie (Tom) Schepp of Brookfield, Jeff (Joan) of Sussex , Chuck (Kris) of Brookfield, Cathy Puls of West Bend and the late Robert. Dear brother of Margie (David) Wiedmeyer of Hartford, WI. Further survived by 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, other relatives and friends. Funeral Service Mon., Oct. 15, at 7PM, at GRACE EV. LUTHERAN CHURCH (corner of Kenwood and Hayes), Menomonee Falls. Visitation Monday 4PM until time of Service. Private burial. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Grace Lutheran Church or the charity of your choice. Charles was a financial adviser for Lutheran Brotherhood, a representative for independent Order of Foresters, a barber, and a the owner of Our Villa Restaurant in Sussex . SCHMIDT & BARTELT A.A. Schmidt & Sons Funeral and Cremation Service Menomonee Falls 262-251-3630

Dave Dubnicka, driver

73 Pontiac Lemans race car "Sussex Inn" sponsor - $600 (Fredonia) on craigslist.com May 16, 2015

 


1991

The Red Lion

According to Suzi Magnusson-Neitzke she was babysitting about the time period 1979-1984 and ate pizza at the Our Villa. The Red Lion was a club upstairs. And Rick Weston says: "My father rented the front of the villa in the 70s for a light fixture store. My dad owned Sussex Electric." April 1, 2014 via FB.

Timothy M Dewar At one time the bar upstairs was De Ja Vu. April 1, 2014 via FB. Re: Our Villa - Timothy M Dewar And also the best Italian Bomber sandwich. They used to have a big screen projection TV on the stage downstairs and would turn on Dukes of Hazzard for me on Fri. Nights. I think we went there every fri. for fish for about 15 yrs. That was probably 1980-1995. They also used to have a free breakfast all you had to do was buy bacon or sausage if you wanted it. Also when it was Our Villa the bar upstairs was called The Wet Spot and was run by Joe Herbert that must of been about 1983 or so. The location of that building was the site of the Village Blacksmith I believe. Also after it was Our Villa it was called Speakeasys.


Sussex hires lawyer after bar incident

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, December 4, 1997

Author: Special to the Journal Sentinel

The Village Board voted Wednesday to hire an attorney to handle any complaints that may result in action against the Club Safari tavern .

The 6-0 vote comes less than one week following a Thanksgiving Day brawl at the tavern , N64-W23300 Main St. Authorities suspect the fight may have led to a drive-by shooting near Silver Spring Road and Hi-Tech Drive, where a passenger in a car was shot in the arm.

Based on problems at the tavern , the village expects to field complaints from residents. The complaints could result in an attempt by the village to suspend or revoke the tavern 's license.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz said the special counsel would handle any potential complaints because Village Attorney John P. Macy represents village interests during tavern license suspension and revocation hearings.

The bar was sold by Rad Buzdum to Chad Burns, and the license was turned over to Burns in August.

---

Owner vows to combat problems at Sussex bar

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Friday, December 5, 1997
Author: Journal Sentinel staff
 

A Sussex nightclub owner threatened with the possible loss or suspension of his liquor license says he wants to work with village officials to ease concerns about safety at the tavern .

"I'm going to do everything I can, even if I have to hire 10 more bouncers," said Chad Burns, who purchased Club Safari in August. "I'm going to make sure we don't have any more problems, so people can get in their cars and drive home safely."

The Village Board began taking steps this week toward possibly revoking or suspending Club Safari's license following a brawl last week that officials said may be linked to a drive-by shooting that occurred minutes after the fight.

A 21-year-old woman was shot in the arm when the car in which she was riding was riddled with bullets Nov. 27 near Silver Spring Road and Hi-Tech Drive in the village. Minutes earlier, some of the people in the car had been in a fight at Club Safari, N64-W23300 Main St., officials said.

The Village Board has hired an attorney to handle any complaints it may receive that could result in action against the tavern , Village Administrator Chris Swartz said.

Any Sussex resident or non-elected village official could file a formal complaint that could lead to the suspension or revocation of the tavern 's license, Swartz said.

Burns said he has taken additional security measures since buying the tavern . A metal detector has been installed, people wearing gang colors are turned away, patrons are required to check their coats, and anyone kicked out for fighting isn't allowed to return for a year, Burns said.

In response to the fight last week, Burns hired an additional bouncer.

Swartz acknowledged that Burns had worked to improve security at the tavern .

"He was trying, but obviously wasn't going far enough," Swartz said. "It is a very, very serious problem for the village and its residents."

Burns said he was frustrated that the shooting was linked with his tavern .

"We've taken all the precautions necessary in the building and in the parking lot," he said. "What happens in the streets isn't really my responsibility. I'm not going to go out and hire patrol officers, too."

---

Village to fight bar problems - Sussex , sheriff's officials to set agenda in countering any trouble at taverns

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, December 15, 1997
Author: Journal Sentinel staff
 

Sussex and Sheriff's Department officials say they will devise a plan to combat rowdiness and other problems at taverns in the northern Waukesha County community.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz, zoning department workers and an attorney will meet with Waukesha County sheriff's officials to come up with "an overall program of enforcement to stop illegal activities and improve public safety," Swartz said.

The plan will be partly in response to a drive-by shooting Nov. 27 that has been linked to a fight at Club Safari.

Some Sussex tavern owners have "started to cross the line" of what is allowed under village ordinances and contained in the businesses' individual plans of operation, Swartz said.

"We want to make sure we hit it before it goes beyond that," he added.

Officials are concerned about activities at both Club Safari, N64-W23300 Main St., and Jimmy's Bar and Charcoal Grill, N63-W24375 Main St., which advertises bikini contests.

The plan of operation for Jimmy's Bar originally was for a restaurant, not a tavern , Swartz said.

The bikini contests are not allowed under the plan, he said. "They're going beyond their plan of operation."

An employee at Jimmy's Bar said no one was available to comment, and no one returned a reporter's call.

Chad Burns, an owner of Club Safari, said he did not fear losing his tavern license.

Burns said the only problem at his nightclub since he began operating it in August was the fight that preceded the drive-by shooting.

The fight was contained quickly and the participants ejected, Burns said.

Authorities have not arrested anyone in connection with the shooting, and although some people in the victim's car had been at Club Safari before the shooting, it has not been established whether any suspects were there.

A 21-year-old woman suffered a gunshot wound to the arm when the car in which she was riding was riddled with bullets near Silver Spring Road and Hi-Tech Drive.

"We're doing everything possible to try to cooperate with the Sheriff's Department," Burns said. "I'd like to see these guys behind bars."

Burns said he does not hold bikini or wet T-shirt contests at his tavern . On Wednesday nights, he sponsors dance contests in which the winner gets a free trip. The participants are fully clothed, Burns said.

"It's clean. It draws a good crowd," Burns said. "There's no nudity. There's no wet T-shirt contest."

Burns acknowledged that there had been wet T-shirt contests and problems at the bar before he bought it, but he said he eliminated them.

"I knew when I bought Club Safari that it was looked down on," Burns said. "But we have 500 cars in the lot on a Wednesday night. We're doing something right, that's obvious."

---

Another fight reported at Sussex 's Club Safari

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, December 18, 1997
 

Less than three weeks after a brawl at Club Safari, Waukesha County sheriff's deputies arrested two men for fighting in the club's parking lot Wednesday.

Threatened with the possible loss or suspension of his liquor license, nightclub owner Chad Burns has said he wants to work with village officials to ease safety concerns that followed a fight at the tavern Nov. 27. Officials have said the fight might be linked to a drive-by shooting that occurred minutes later.

Deputies responded to the club, N64-W23300 Main St., about 11:00 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a phone call from a citizen about two men fighting in the parking lot, according to sheriff's Detective Steve Pederson.

Pederson said the fight ended before squads arrived and deputies found the two men inside the bar. One was arrested for disorderly conduct. The other man apparently was uncooperative and was arrested for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, Pederson said.

There were no injuries as a result of the fight.

Club Safari comes to a crossroads - Improvements promised, but hearing could mean end for Sussex tavern

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, March 30, 1998
Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

A hearing is scheduled for tonight that could prompt officials to shut down a Sussex tavern despite a promise from Milwaukee private investigator Ira Robins to eliminate problems that have given the establishment a less-than-savory reputation

Robins, known for his investigative work on behalf of convicted murderer Laurie Bembenek, said he will take over Club Safari and completely change the operation -- if the village does not revoke the tavern 's liquor license.

Neighbors and village officials have long complained about the Safari Club.

But Robins said he has eliminated the Saturday night "calendar girl" contests, in which models competed to win inclusion in a calendar.

"I threw (the contest operators) out of the building last week," he said.

Robins said he also ended the Wednesday night dance cotests that he described as people "doing the hootchy-kootchy, but with no nudity, they just get up there and shake."

"That's out of here, too," Robins said.

A trial-like hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at Village Hall, N64-W23760 Main St. The Village Board will listen to testimony provided by witnesses who have been subpoenaed. The board then will decide whether to revoke the license, now held by Chad Burns.

A drive-by shooting Nov. 27 has been linked to the tavern . A 21-year-old woman was wounded when the car in which she was riding was riddled with bullets near Silver Spring and Hi-Tech drives in the village. Minutes earlier, some of the people in the car had been in a brawl involving 20 people at the tavern .

Burns said that he has agreed to transfer the liquor license -- and business -- to Robins.

Burns said the agreement would allow him to get out from under the "headache" the tavern has become, and Robins would assume any remaining debt.

"If they aren't going to give Ira the license, then I'm going to fight this thing," Burns said.

Burns said he will be represented by an attorney at the hearing.

"I'm trying to cut my losses and just go on," said Burns, who took over the tavern in August.

Burns said that Club Safari, N64-W23300 Main St., already had a bad reputation when he took it over. The drive-by shooting destroyed any chance he had of remaining in business there, he said, although he maintains he had no control over an incident that occurred "two miles away."

Burns said that he instituted numerous security measures at the tavern and attempted to clean things up.

Robins said he has not been subpoenaed, but would attend the hearing and planned to "talk about corrections under way" at the tavern .

He that he was hired a few months ago by Burns to "document (the sheriff's) investigation."

But for the past month. Robins has been managing the tavern with minimal involvement by Burns, Robins said.

He insisted he has already begun "cleaning up the place."

But Sheriff's Lt. Robert Ireland said problems have persisted at the tavern , most notably underage drinking.

Robins acknowledged that in the past two weeks, deputies have issued citations to three females for underage drinking there, but he said the three had used fake IDs to gain entrance.

If the tavern is allowed to remain open, Robins said, he planned to feature only classic rock, "no rap, no hip-hop," and install a cappuccino machine.

"I'll lose a lot of customers, but I'm looking for an older (crowd), nicer place," Robins said. "I think I can do this properly. I can be an asset to the Village of Sussex ."

Robins gained notoriety during the years he tried to clear Bembenek's name. Bembenek, a former model and Milwaukee police officer, was convicted of the 1981 murder of Christine Schultz, her then-husband's ex-wife. In 1992, the original conviction was set aside, and Bembenek pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was set free

Liquor license hearing reset for Wednesday

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tuesday, March 31, 1998
 

A hearing on the possible revocation of the liquor license for Club Safari was postponed Monday because the tavern owner's attorney was unable to attend.

The hearing was rescheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Village Hall, N64-W23760 Main St.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz filed a petition to have the nightclub's license revoked because of problems at the tavern , including a Nov. 27 drive-by shooting that was linked to a fight.

Officials also objected to weekly "hot buns" dance contests and "calendar girl" contests in which women paraded around in thong bikinis. Waukesha County sheriff's officials also have said there have been problems with underage drinking on the premises.

The club's new manager, private investigator Ira Robins, said that the contests have been eliminated and that the only minors found on the premises had gained entrance by using fake IDs

Liquor license hearing begins - Sussex board rejects shift, takes testimony on Club Safari troubles

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, April 2, 1998
Author: LUKE KLINK, Special to the Journal Sentinel
 

The Village Board began taking testimony Wednesday night that could result in the revocation of Club Safari's liquor license.

Before the start of the hearing, defense attorney Andrew Griggs asked that the matter be temporarily adjourned so the bar's owners could transfer the business' liquor licenses to private investigator Ira Robins.

"(Robins) would run the business from this point on and (owners) Erik Straseske and Chad Burns would not set foot in the establishment," Griggs said. "They would have nothing to do with its operation from this point forward."

The board voted 7-0 against Griggs' request and proceeded with the hearing.

Testifying against Burns was Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Potter, who called Burns "uncooperative" during an investigation of a disorderly conduct arrest at the bar.

Also testifying Wednesday was Village Administrator Chris Swartz, who said that Club Safari owners had not made formal requests to hold alleged "hot buns" and "calendar girl" dance contests, which involve women in thong bikinis.

Under cross-examination, however, Swartz said he had no firsthand knowledge of any fights, public urination, loud conduct or dance contests at the tavern .

Swartz filed the petition seeking the revocation of Burns' liquor license based on criminal activity and what some consider unsavory entertainment at the nightclub at N64-W23300 Main St.

The Village Board hired special prosecutor Michael Morse in December to look into problems at Club Safari after a woman was wounded in a November drive-by shooting linked to a fight at the bar.

Robins, known for his investigatory work on behalf of convicted murderer Laurie Bembenek, has been managing the nightclub for about a month and contends that he has ended the dance contests and is making other efforts to rid the tavern of its rowdy clientele.

At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Morse anticipated calling at least seven more witnesses, and Griggs anticipated calling at least three witnesses

Hearing on liquor license revocation to resume

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, April 6, 1998

The continuation of a hearing on a petition to revoke the liquor license for Club Safari is set for April 15.

The Village Board finished hearing more than a dozen witnesses during the first hearing, a marathon session April 1.

On April 15, the board is to hear closing arguments from special prosecutor Michael Morse and attorney Andrew Griggs, who is representing license holder Chad Burns.

After closing arguments, the board is expected to deliberate in closed session and return a decision the same evening.

The hearing is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Village Hall, N64-W23760 Main St.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz filed a petition seeking license revocation because of problems with underage drinking, fights and contests involving scantily clad women. A drive-by shooting last November in the village also has been linked to a brawl at the tavern at N64-W23300 Main St

A license to tend bar, but none yet to serve liquor - Private investigator Robins seeking go-ahead to operate Sussex nightclub

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Wednesday, April 15, 1998
Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Private investigator Ira Robins on Tuesday received a bartender's license to work in the village, but he still does not know whether he will get a liquor license to run his own place.

The Village Board approved a bartender's license for Robins, 56, but put on hold his application for a license to operate a nightclub in the building now occupied by Club Safari.

The board is in the process of conducting a license-revocation hearing regarding the liquor license held by Chad Burns, one of Club Safari's owners.

The village administrator is seeking to revoke the license because of recurring problems at Club Safari, N64-W23300 Main St.

Robins, who has been managing Club Safari for about six weeks, has a contract with Burns to assume the business in exchange for taking over its debt. Under the agreement, Burns and his partner would get out of the business completely.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz has filed a petition seeking revocation of Burns' license because of problems with underage drinking, fights and what some consider unsavory entertainment at the nightclub.

The Village Board hired special prosecutor Michael Morse in December to investigate problems at Club Safari after a woman was wounded in a drive-by shooting linked to a fight at the bar.

Robins, who gained local fame after working for years trying to clear convicted murderer Laurie Bembenek, plans to rename the tavern Private Eye Night Club.

Village Trustee Henry Carlson told Robins: "You can understand our concern, Ira. This particular establishment has been a real pain in the village's side. We want to be assured in no uncertain terms that we're not going to have the type of establishment we have there now."

Robins replied: "Any place that I have is going to be run right."

Robins said he already has "toned down the music" and has begun fixing up the bar. He said he is drawing a more mature crowd -- patrons in their 30s to 50s -- as opposed to the early-20s clientele the bar previously attracted.

A Village Board committee placed Robins' liquor license request on hold to give inspectors time to check the premises.

The issue of Burns' license remains unresolved. The revocation hearing is scheduled to continue today beginning at 6 p.m

Sussex officials hear Club Safari operators are being evicted - But they will surrender liquor license if village grants one to new tenant

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, May 14, 1998

Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

The former operators of the problem-plagued Club Safari nightclub are about to be evicted, and private investigator Ira Robins will soon buy the business, village officials were told this week.

Phil Kmiec, owner of the building in which the tavern is located, told the Village Board that he has filed an eviction action in Waukesha County Circuit Court against Club Safari operators Chad Burns and Eric Straseske.

But Kmiec said that the current owners would surrender their liquor license if the village grants Robins the license. Kmiec said that he would drop the eviction action if the liquor license is transferred to Robins.

Kmiec does not want to be left with a commercial rental property that does not have a liquor license.

Village officials said, however, that they want to ensure that there will be no future problems before they grant Robins a license.

In April, the Village Board suspended the current owners' license until this week because of fights, a link to a drive-by shooting, public urination outside the club and other problems at the tavern , N64-W23300 Main St.

"You can understand the village's point of view," Trustee Fred Gallant told Robins during Tuesday night's meeting. "We've been burned twice, and we're getting a little hesitant."

Gallant was referring to Club Safari's previous owner, Rad Buzdum, who also came under fire from the village for holding "hot buns" and "calendar girl" contests at the bar and for problems similar to those that have occurred under current management.

Village officials also voiced some hesitancy about Robins' plans for the nightclub, which he plans to rename the Private Eye Night Club.

Village Administrator Chris Swartz asked him, "How do we know this is not going to be a hangout" for Outlaws motorcycle club members?

"Most of the Outlaws are going to prison," Robins said.

Robins said he has represented some members of the Outlaws as a private investigator, including some that are being prosecuted by federal authorities in Milwaukee.

He said that he has also done some "public relations" work for the organization.

Robins said he no longer is affiliated with the group and is retiring from investigative work.

"I am not (an Outlaw member) . . . I don't want anything like that" in the club, Robins said.

Robins said that he plans to create a club geared toward "mature" adults and hopes to establish at least one night a week for singles events.

Robins said he would not cater to the early-20s crowd that the tavern has historically attracted.

"I'm going after mature people and older people like myself," said Robins, who is 56.

Swartz and the village attorney will work on a list of conditions for a new license and work with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department on a security plan for the club before bringing Robins' license request to the Village Board, either on May 26 or June 16.

Bar's license renewed despite past complaints - Sussex officials had thought Club Safari owners would transfer license

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Wednesday, June 24, 1998
Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

The operators of a nightclub that was linked to a drive-by shooting and was the site of fights, public urination, racy contests and loud music had their liquor license renewed Tuesday by the Village Board.

Village officials have thought for the past several months that the license for Club Safari, N64-W23300 Main St., would be transferred to Milwaukee private investigator Ira Robins, who vowed to clean up the place and run a calmer operation. They learned Tuesday that Club Safari's operators have no intention of giving up their license.

Phil Kmiec, owner of the building in which Club Safari is located, also indicated to the board that he had ceased eviction proceedings against the nightclub operators, Chad Burns and Eric Straseske.

The turn of events had Robins, who had been managing Club Safari for Burns and Straseske while they dealt with the police and neighborhood complaints, threatening legal action against them.

The Village Board had little recourse but to renew Club Safari's license because there had been no new complaints against the nightclub since it resumed operation in May after being closed down in April, said Village Attorney John Macy. Club Safari's license had been suspended by the board in April after the board held a lengthy hearing on problems at the tavern .

Some Club Safari patrons who had been in a brawl at the club last November were also involved in a drive-by shooting several blocks away moments after leaving the club. Sheriff's deputies also were called to the club on other occasions for public urination outside the club and loud music.

Village officials also objected to "hot buns" and "calendar girl" contests that were held. "We don't have a lot of ammunition not to renew" the license, Macy told board members.

Village officials expressed frustration during Tuesday's meeting. "A few weeks ago you sat here and told us you did not want the liquor license," Trustee Vicki Braden said to Burns and Straseske. Their lawyer, Andrew Griggs, replied that all municipal rules would be followed.

In explaining the change of heart on the part of Burns and Straseske and the decision not to transfer the license to Robins, Griggs would say only that it "boils down to financial issues."

Robins accused Burns and Straseske of using him to clean up and remodel the nightclub, only to turn around and push him out. "There will be litigation coming on that," Robins said.

Sussex night club operators get another chance - Eviction order is overturned, pending trial to settle the matter

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, July 20, 1998
Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

The on-again, off-again Club Safari night club in Sussex is on again, having dodged an eviction order, at least for now.

A Waukesha County Circuit Court commissioner last week overturned a July 6 eviction order granted to the owner of the building that contains the night club, now known as Club Avalon.

The eviction had been granted by default because club operator Chad Burns did not appear in court.

On July 8, Burns and his partner, Erik Straseske, were evicted from the tavern at N64-W23300 Main St. by building owner Phillip Kmiec and several sheriff's deputies.

Commissioner Linda Georgeson vacated the eviction after Burns argued that he had never been properly served with the court summons for the eviction hearing.

Burns argued that the business would be irreparably damaged if it were closed down, because its biggest sales weekend was approaching -- Sussex Lions Daze, which was held over the weekend.

Burns said he had repaid his debts to Kmiec and was unaware Kmiec had continued with eviction proceedings. That came after Kmiec in June indicated at a Sussex Village Board meeting he had halted the eviction proceedings he started in May.

Burns sold his boat and canceled his September wedding in order to repay $10,000 Kmiec said Burns and Straseske owed in back rent, according to court documents.

Burns and Straseske said they did not even know the eviction hearing had taken place on July 6 and that on July 8, as they were feverishly preparing the club for a July 11 grand reopening, Kmiec and the deputies appeared, according to an affidavit by Straseske.

Georgeson sent the case to Circuit Judge Kathryn Foster to settle the dispute. A trial is set for Aug. 21.

The status of the night club has changed numerous times over the past several months.

In December 1997, the village began investigating activity at the club after a Thanksgiving drive-by shooting several blocks from the club that involved people who had been at the tavern moments earlier.

The investigation led to a hearing in spring and a decision by the Village Board in April to suspend Burns' liquor license for 10 days because of fights and public urination at the club.

At the time, Burns had indicated to village officials that a plan was in the works to turn over the business to private investigator Ira Robins, who had been managing the club during the village investigation.

In June, though, Burns surprised village officials when he sought renewal of his liquor license and said his arrangement with Robins had gone sour.

The board, on the advice of the village attorney, renewed Burns' license.

In court documents, Straseske alleges that Robins had not been paying bills at the club.

Robins on Friday refused to comment.

John Brendel, an attorney for Burns and Straseske, said his clients have pledged to the village that they will operate an orderly club.

"They're going to bend over backwards to accommodate Sussex ," Brendel said.

Man charged with illegally passing out report - Ex- Sussex tavern owner accused of distributing document about deputy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, November 19, 1998
Author: LISA SINK, Journal Sentinel staff
 

A former Sussex tavern owner was charged Wednesday with illegal distribution of confidential reports about a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy once accused but later acquitted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Radomir Buzdum, who at the time owned Club Safari in Sussex , allegedly told village residents that he didn't like the deputy, Michael Potter, officials said.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department provides police protection to Sussex . Potter was often assigned to respond to reports of disturbances at Buzdum's bar because Potter worked the department's late shift patrol.

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Circuit Court:

Potter, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in a 1995 trial in Jefferson County, told sheriff's investigators Buzdum had informed many people he planned to "get even" with Potter.

Buzdum allegedly stuffed the sensitive reports into mailboxes of Potter's neighbors with a note that said "Citizens of Sussex -- this is your Sussex Police Department."

In August 1997, Buzdum obtained the reports, which included the name and other information about the alleged juvenile victim, from a colleague of Potter's, Waukesha County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Landsgaard, the complaint says.

Landsgaard, who has served a 120-working-day unpaid suspension for providing the reports to Buzdum, was not charged with any crime because he did not distribute the confidential information himself, District Attorney Paul Bucher said.

Landsgaard told investigators that he didn't know what Buzdum planned to do with the reports, Bucher explained. Landsgaard also said that he believed that since the case had been closed and the trial was concluded, the reports were no longer confidential.

Last year, Bucher decided not to prosecute Buzdum, in part because the state didn't have enough evidence to prove he was involved. However, a state Crime Laboratory analysis of envelopes and reports Potter's neighbors found in their mailboxes found Buzdum's fingerprints, prosecutors allege.

Bucher charged Buzdum with a misdemeanor -- permitting unauthorized release of confidential reports. "This is the first time that I've ever had to use it," Bucher said of that law.

Conviction carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Bucher said that he waited until now to file the charge because he had been trying to settle the case with a much reduced charge, such as disorderly conduct. Despite repeated attempts for months to talk to Buzdum, "he has totally blown me off," Bucher said. "Apparently he thinks this is all a joke. This is not a joke. I had no choice but to proceed."

Buzdum could not be reached Wednesday at a Sussex address listed on the criminal complaint as his home or by phone.

Note: In an unrelated matter, Landsgaard was suspended for six months in late 1997 and early 1998 for giving a Sussex tavern owner confidential reports about a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy accused but later acquitted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
 

source: Deputy accused of taping co-worker - Officer suspended pending investigation of alleged incident within past month

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Wednesday, March 31, 1999
Author: LISA SINK AND VIKKI ORTIZ, Journal Sentinel staff

Man fined for spreading fliers about deputy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, June 7, 1999
 

A former Sussex tavern owner has been ordered to forfeit $332 for illegally distributing information about a former Waukesha County sheriff's deputy once accused but later acquitted of child sexual assault.

Radomir Buzdum, who at the time owned Club Safari, which is now known as Club Avalon in Sussex , had his attorney enter a plea of no contest on his behalf to a non-criminal county ticket alleging disorderly conduct.

Buzdum originally had been charged with a misdemeanor -- permitting unauthorized release of confidential reports. District Attorney Paul Bucher reduced the charge to an ordinance violation, and Circuit Judge Donald Hassin Jr. last month ordered a $332 forfeiture.

Buzdum was accused of stuffing Sussex mailboxes with a Sheriff's Department report about allegations that Deputy Michael Potter molested a 16-year-old girl. Potter was acquitted of the charges in a 1995 trial.

Buzdum obtained the reports from another deputy, Michael Landsgaard, who was suspended for 120 working days for his role.

Sussex has seen enough of Club Avalon, but owner vows battle to keep nightclub open

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Monday, June 14, 1999

Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

The owner of a Sussex nightclub has vowed to fight the village's renewed quest to shut down his business.

The Village Board voted unanimously last week to not renew the liquor license for Club Avalon, a popular nightspot that village officials say has been a source of problems for police and neighborhood frustration for more than two years.

In a seven-page document that cites state laws and local ordinances, the village listed a litany of alleged violations at the nightclub, N64-W23300 Main St., including patrons with loaded guns, a large brawl, loud and disruptive activity, debris outside the building and an overcrowded building on one occasion.

Club Avalon owner Chad Burns requested a hearing before the board to dispute the complaints, which he alleges are trumped-up charges that sheriff's deputies produced through a campaign of harassment. The village scheduled a hearing for June 22.station that caters to African-Americans "who we primarily wanted to target."

As soon as more African-Americans began frequenting the club, the number of squad cars patrolling the area around the tavern increased from six a night to 12 to 30, Burns said.

"They started pulling people over at random" for such reasons as out-of-state plates and "rattling" cars, Burns said. "I believe 100 percent it's a race thing and, No. 2, it's a vendetta against this bar," Burns said.

Village Trustee Fred Gallant strongly defended the actions of the village and Sheriff's Department. "They're playing a trump card," Gallant said. "Whether it be white, black, Asian or any other race, safety is the main concern of the village. We have never had any other establishment with as many violations over the same period of time as this place. In no way is it a racist issue."

Sheriff's Department reports detailing problems at Club Avalon stack up an inch thick, Gallant said.

"Shootings or roughhouseness will not be tolerated in Sussex ," Gallant said. "I don't care what race it is, this is not an African-American issue. I feel we are being unjustly accused. We just went on evidence. It's a safety issue."

The village got serious about monitoring the nightclub in November 1997 when a drive-by shooting in the village involved a group of people who had been at Club Avalon, then known as Club Safari, just moments before the shooting.

In April 1998, the board suspended the license because of fights and public urination at the nightclub.

Even before Burns took over the business in August 1997 from Radomir Buzdum, village and sheriff's officials complained of problems at the establishment, including rowdiness, lewd dance contests and public urination.

In June 1998, though, the board gave Burns and Straseske another chance and renewed Club Avalon's license after Burns agreed to a long list of operating conditions.

After that, it appeared that things had calmed down so much at the tavern that the Village Board in November 1998 agreed to let Burns expand his operating hours.

But officials soon began noticing a renewed pattern of alleged violations at the club.

According to the village:

* The tavern allegedly was packed with 377 people on June 3 while the club's capacity is limited to 299.

* Sheriff's deputies arrested a club patron outside the tavern on May 30 after two gunshots were fired into the air in the parking lot. In connection with that incident, a 25-year-old Milwaukee man was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court with carrying a concealed weapon and operating a firearm while intoxicated, both misdemeanors.

* The club lacked an adequate number of security personnel, as required by Burns' license conditions, on 24 occasions between October 1998 and May 28, 1999.

* In November 1998, deputies stopped a man who had just been at the nightclub and found a loaded .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun under the driver's seat.

* On Jan. 31, 1999, deputies found a handgun under the driver's seat of another vehicle that was pulled over after leaving Club Avalon. Deputies arrested the driver, who allegedly became boisterous during the arrest.

* A man suffered a 6-inch-long cut on his forehead and a woman suffered severe bruises on her head after both were struck with beer bottles during a melee at the club on May 28, 1999.

Another woman's car was damaged after another patron jumped on the roof of the vehicle during the disturbance.

Burns alleged the village "lied" about and exaggerated the May 28 disturbance.

He said it involved only three people and was "the first major incident in here in the last nine months."

"I have no problem with four, five, six squads floating around here, but to have 30 squad cars out here, I mean, give me a break," Burns said.

Burns said he filed a complaint June 7 with the Madison office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People alleging harassment by the village and sheriff's officials.

Sussex nightclub launches offensive for its survival - Tavern owners suggest village's bid to close it is racially motivated

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Wednesday, June 23, 1999
Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Owners of Club Avalon began laying groundwork Tuesday for a court challenge to the village's plan to shut down the nightclub and implied that the village's action was racially motivated.

In a public hearing before the Village Board, an attorney for Club Avalon barraged village and police officials with questions about their allegations against the tavern .

Attorney John Brendel said Club Avalon owners Chad Burns and Erik Straseske were told by village officials that they should stop advertising on a Milwaukee radio station that caters to African-Americans.

"Were there not comments that `We don't want these people coming from Milwaukee,' " Brendel asked Village Administrator Chris Swartz.

Swartz said he was not aware of such comments.

Waukesha County Sheriff Department visits to Club Avalon increased after Burns, who is the full license holder for the nightclub, began advertising on the radio station and more African-Americans began patronizing the tavern , Brendel said.

Swartz said problems at the club warranted stepped-up patrols.

Brendel noted that no other tavern in the village has to operate under the long list of conditions the village has required for Club Avalon. He referred to some of the conditions as "stupid."

Swartz said the conditions were placed on Burns' liquor license a year ago because of ongoing problems at the nightclub at N64-W23300 Main St.

"We think they're important and very vital to the public safety of the village of Sussex ," Swartz said of the conditions.

The hearing had not concluded as of the Journal Sentinel's press time Tuesday night.

If the board decides not to renew Club Avalon's liquor license, Burns can appeal the decision in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Burns has said he would seek such an appeal.

In a seven-page document that cites state laws and local ordinances, the village listed a litany of alleged violations at the nightclub, including patrons with loaded guns, a large brawl, loud and disruptive activity, debris outside the building and an overcrowded building on one occasion.

The village began an investigation into activities at the tavern , then known as Club Safari, after a November 1997 drive-by shooting in the village was linked to patrons who had been at the nightclub just moments before the incident.

In April 1998, the board suspended the license because of fights and public urination at the tavern .

In June 1998, however, the board gave Burns and Straseske another chance and renewed Club Avalon's license after Burns agreed to the long list of operating conditions. The board even agreed in November 1998 to allow Burns to expand his hours because there had been no major incidents at the tavern .

But officials said shortly afterward problems began again.

Board says it will close hearing on tavern - Newspaper opposes action, says deliberations on Club Avalon should be open

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, June 24, 1999

Author: Betsy Thatcher, Sam Martino and Shannon Prather of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report
 

The Village Board says it plans to exclude the public tonight when trustees debate Club Avalon's fate amid allegations it has been rowdy, noisy and is patronized by gun-toting customers.

The planned secrecy prompted a request Wednesday afternoon from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's legal counsel that the board "reconsider its intention to conduct all of its deliberations concerning the liquor license application . . . in closed session."

Club Avalon owner Chad Burns has charged that the board's view is racially motivated and that it wants to shut down the nightclub because it is drawing African-Americans from Milwaukee.

"We believe that there is sufficient public interest in this matter to warrant an open session for these deliberations," Paul E. Kritzer, the newspaper's legal counsel, wrote in his letter to Village Attorney John P. Macy.

While public bodies may legally meet with their lawyers in closed session to obtain advice, there is no legal requirement that officials discuss the merits of a tavern license renewal in secret, Kritzer noted. "The Village Board has the discretion to conduct its deliberations in open session," Kritzer pointed out in his letter.

The board already has indicated that it does not intend to renew the license, but the owner of the tavern at N64-W23300 Main St. objected and requested the hearing.

Following a six-hour session held in public Tuesday night, trustees met in private with Macy to review the situation until about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday before adjourning. The board is scheduled to meet again at 6 p.m. tonight at the Village Hall, N64-W23760 Main St.

In an interview on Wednesday, Macy said the village acted properly in seeking a closed session to discuss the license revocation. "State statutes allowed us to deliberate on an issue concerning the subject of any judicial, or quasi-judicial trial or hearing before a governmental body," Macy said.

The closed meeting occurred after a hearing during which attorneys for the village and Club Avalon presented their cases using witnesses put under oath, Macy said.

"We have nothing to hide. The closed session isn't to hide things. There are exceptions in the law, and we are exercising our rights based on the open meeting law. The board tabled the (Avalon) matter for me to do legal research," Macy said.

Several trustees contacted Wednesday evening about Thursday's meeting had different views on secrecy. Trustee Ralph Benka said he believes that only a short portion of the meeting will be closed and said he supports voting in open session. However, Trustee Henry Carlson endorsed using a closed session for discussion.

"We just wanted to finish discussing the legal issues," Carlson said. "We are asking the attorney to research legal issues which couldn't be researched at 2:30 a.m. (Tuesday). This is a big decision for all the village trustees. This is a matter of great public safety."

Trustee Vicki Braden said the closed session is only to discuss legal options. Deliberations and voting are "not what an executive session is for," she said.

Trustee Fred Gallant said that he knew the board was not required to go into closed session to deliberate and make a decision but that he would defer to whatever procedure Macy suggested.

Trustee Michael Knapp had no comment on the secrecy question.

In its case presented during the hearing, the village alleged that problems began escalating at the nightclub in fall 1998. A brawl on May 28 this year and gunshots fired into the air in the parking lot on May 30 led to the board's recent declaration that it intends not to renew the license.

Club Avalon attorney John Brendel said at the hearing that Waukesha County sheriff's deputies did not search the parking lot on a regular basis until October 1998, when the bar began advertising on a Milwaukee radio station, resulting in "a change in trade" to an African-American clientele.

He also alleged that after the clientele changed there were at least 10 times that the Sheriff's Department assigned multiple squad cars to patrol the area at closing time. Two of those occasions involved as many as 25 squads cars from multiple agencies, including the State Patrol, the Milwaukee Police Department and other area police departments, he said.

Deputy Inspector Daniel Trawicki of the Sheriff's Department said at the hearing the so-called "saturation patrols" began because "we were having a lot of problems."

Trawicki said he believed Club Avalon was "a shooting waiting to occur." He said that in addition to noise and trash problems around the bar, deputies pulled over patrons who had weapons in their vehicles and in one case were driving a stolen car.

Brendel said Club Avalon could not be held responsible for the fact that a car in its lot was stolen or had traffic violations that occurred off its premises.

Several residents stayed late into the night Tuesday to state concerns about Club Avalon and express their fears of violence in the neighborhood.

"If this bar's clientele was a group of white rednecks with swastikas tattooed on them I would want this bar shut down," Mike Coston said. "It's a public safety issue."

Diane Orlando-Perron, who lives on Waukesha Ave. near the nightclub, said that the evening of May 30 when a patron fired two gunshots into the air in the parking lot she and her son had been on their front porch.

"Should we have to put up with this?" Orlando-Perron asked. "We fear that somebody's going to get hurt. In our community, we will not allow the guns, we will not allow the drugs and we will not allow the people of our community to be put in danger."

Cathy Selerski, a Sussex Fire Department volunteer who responded to a call of injuries related to a brawl at the bar on May 28, said rescue workers do not feel safe when they are called there.

Sussex refuses to renew club's liquor license - Club Avalon owner calls decision racially motivated, says he'll appeal in court

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Friday, June 25, 1999

Author: MIKE JOHNSON, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Village Board members put Club Avalon out of business Thursday night, saying they could no longer jeopardize public safety by allowing a nightclub plagued by escalating problems, including brawls and gunshots, to operate.

After about an hour of public deliberation, including a review of an eight-page document listing numerous alleged violations at the nightclub, the board voted unanimously not to renew Club Avalon's liquor license. The license expires June 30.

Owner Chad Burns blasted the decision and said he would seek to overturn the decision by filing an appeal in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Burns said the board targeted Club Avalon, N64-W23300 Main St., for closure because it is drawing African-Americans from Milwaukee. The decision not to renew the license was "100%" racially motivated, he said.

"Number one, they've never wanted this bar here; that's the main thing," Burns said, alleging the board hearing was not "fair and impartial."

"I had a license from July 1, 1998, until June 30 of '99. Ninety-nine percent of the police reports when it was Club Avalon started in October when I started targeting the African-American crowd. I know that's part of the reason, without a doubt."

He also alleged that police departments conducted saturation patrols of as many as 30 squad cars around the club because of its clientele. However, police have said those patrols were in response to numerous problems at the tavern .

Board members strongly denied their decision had anything to do with race. "I have no reaction to the race issue because I don't believe there is one," Trustee Ralph Benka said after the meeting.

The board's decision came after a six-hour hearing Tuesday. That hearing was requested by Burns after the board earlier had indicated to Burns it did not intend to renew the license because of problems that began escalating at the nightclub in the fall of 1998.

During Tuesday's hearing, trustees took testimony from Club Avalon operators, village officials, residents, and police and fire personnel. The board then went into a closed session that lasted until about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday to confer with its attorney, and then decided to meet again Thursday.

During Thursday's deliberations, board members repeatedly said an incident in Club Avalon's parking lot May 30 of this year in which two gunshots were fired was the last straw for the nightclub. That incident, as well as a May 28 brawl, led to the board's recent declaration that it intended not to renew the license.

"The safety of the neighborhood is the key thing at stake," Trustee Fred Gallant said Thursday. He said the gunshots "were the straw that broke the camel's back. This is small-town America."

Said Trustee Henry Carlson, "We need an establishment like that like we need a hole in the head."

The board said it had worked hard with Burns, hoping to iron out the problems at the nightclub. In April 1998, the board had suspended Club Avalon's license because of fights and public urination.

In June 1998, however, the board renewed Club Avalon's license after Burns agreed to the long list of operating conditions. Then, in November 1998, the board allowed Burns to expand his hours because there had been no major incidents at the tavern . But officials said shortly afterward trouble began again.

"I was hoping Club Avalon would make it," Village President Patricia Bartlett told Burns. "It's hard to deny a license, because you immediately put somebody out of business."

But, she said: "I, as a village elected official, have the responsibility to make sure the citizens of the village are safe."

She said citizens were living in fear because of Club Avalon, and they "had a right" to feel safe in their neighborhood.

The day before Thursday's deliberations, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel objected to a plan by the board to exclude the public when trustees began deliberating on the license. The newspaper asked in a letter that the deliberations be conducted in open session.

Board members on Thursday said they only wanted to meet in a closed session with their attorney to discuss legal issues surrounding the case. They agreed unanimously to discuss the fate of Club Avalon in open session, saying there would be nothing "secretive" about their deliberations.

2 Club Avalon patrons arrested at park-and-ride lot - Police say scuffle confirms objections to Sussex tavern

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Saturday, June 26, 1999
Author: LINDA SPICE, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Just hours after Sussex village officials refused to renew Club Avalon's tavern license, saying the bar attracted disorderly patrons, authorities broke up a four-woman scuffle in a City of Pewaukee park-and-ride lot that involved club patrons.

The incident indicates that the tavern 's problems, which have included brawls and gunshots involving club patrons, apparently have spilled over into Pewaukee.

"These people left that bar. They came into our community and created a disturbance," said City of Pewaukee police Lt. Gary Bach.

"They indicated they were coming from Club Avalon," Bach said. "They missed their turn onto the expressway from (Highway) 164."

Authorities described the scuffle as a dispute over a man.

"Ultimately, two of them ended up getting arrested," Bach said. "If it's as bad as officials are saying it (the club) is, and I have no reason not to believe them, it's a concern. It spills over to our community and causes us to provide more police services."

The two women arrested early Friday are accused of disorderly conduct. They received municipal tickets that carry forfeitures of up to $209 upon conviction.

"I can't say they were intoxicated, but they were under the influence," Pewaukee police Sgt. Brian Ripplinger said. Both women are believed to be in their early 20s. One was taken to the Waukesha County Jail after it was learned that five warrants were pending for her arrest.

No further information was available on the women Friday.

According to police, a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy driving north on Highway 164 about 2 a.m. saw the four women "all entangled" at the lot.

Ripplinger said police took all four to their station for questioning, and that two of the four said they were trying to break up the scuffle when officers arrived.

The combatants suffered minor cuts and scrapes. One was treated at the station after complaining of pain in her knees, but she refused hospitalization.

About 7 p.m. Thursday, Sussex Village Board members voted unanimously not to renew Club Avalon's liquor license, which expires June 30. The decision came after an hour of public deliberation. An eight-page document listed numerous alleged violations at the nightclub.

Owner Chad Burns has said he will seek to overturn the decision in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Burns said the board targeted the club, N64-W23300 Main St., because it draws people of color from Milwaukee.

Sussex had good reasons

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Saturday, June 26, 1999
Author: FRANZEN
 

Having failed to convince the Sussex Village Board that gunshots, brawls and public urination are standard operating procedure for bars, Chad Burns pulled out the race card.

The board's decision not to renew the license for Burns' Club Avalon was "100%" racially motivated, he said, and "99%" of the negative police reports about the club came after Burns started drawing an African-American crowd last fall.

Are there racists in Sussex ? Maybe. Did some people react negatively when more African-Americans started showing up at the bar? Maybe. And past conduct by some suburban and rural police departments toward African-Americans lends a certain credence to Burns' charges.

But those generalities don't make a specific case against Sussex . And Club Avalon was a source of trouble for the village long before last fall. The board suspended the club's license in April 1998 because of complaints over fighting and public urination. The final straw was broken late last month after a brawl and gunshots in the parking lot. The board explained all this in a meeting -- commendably held in open session, as the public deserved -- but Burns apparently still didn't get the message.

Other tavern owners should. Gunshots and brawls are intolerable in any neighborhood, at any time.

Sussex officials oppose owner's request for liquor license at Club Avalon site

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Thursday, September 16, 1999

Author: BETSY THATCHER, Journal Sentinel staff
 

Repeatedly stung by problems with night clubs that have come and gone in a building on Main St., village officials appear poised to end the location's troubled legacy.

The Village Board this week put on hold a request for a liquor license by Phillip Kmiec, owner of the building at N64-W23300 Main St.

Although Kmiec has only leased the building to other operators during the three years he has owned it, he now wants to open his own night club in the upper level.

The most recent tenant of the upper level was the controversial Club Avalon, which was shut down this past summer when the Village Board refused to reissue a liquor license to tavern operator Chad Burns.

The board cited problems with gun-toting patrons, brawls, noise, public urination and litter among its reasons for denying a license renewal.

Club Avalon's license expired June 30.

Kmiec was not involved in Club Avalon's operation or in any of its previous incarnations, village officials say.

Despite Kmiec's otherwise good track record with the village, officials indicated they probably would not issue a new license for the building.

There is already one liquor establishment in the building's lower level, the Sussex Inn, a restaurant and bar.

Despite vows by Kmiec to operate a problem-free establishment and an offer to exist under a strict set of conditions, members of the Village Board's Finance Committee said they would oppose granting him a liquor license to reopen the upper level.

With the entire Finance Committee and Village President Patricia Bartlett indicating they did not support granting a license, a majority of the seven-member Village Board appears against it.

"It's not going to be the same type of operation that's been in there in the past," Kmiec told the Finance Committee. "I'm going to put myself on the line with this."

Officials would not be swayed, though.

"I just don't think a night club is a viable operation in Sussex ," Village Trustee Allen Olmstead said.

Trustee Vicki Braden said she did not support having two liquor licenses in the same building.

"I think we've heard from the residents in the area, they don't want a night club in there," Braden said.

Club Avalon's Burns took over the former Club Safari from Radomir Buzdum in 1997. Burns had his license suspended after a drive-by shooting in the village involving patrons who had been at the club and after officials learned of lewd contests and fighting.

Burns reopened the night club as Club Avalon, promising officials he had cleaned up past problems.

But village and Waukesha County sheriff's officials said problems quickly resurfaced.

The village moved to shut down the operation after an incident over the Memorial Day weekend in which a patron allegedly fired two shots into the air in the club parking lot.

Burns charged that the village's refusal to renew his license was racially motivated. He alleged that the village and sheriff's officials began cracking down on Club Avalon in October 1998 when the bar began attracting a largely African-American clientele.

Local officials have denied Burns' allegations.

Grafton's Club 1304 closes; bar sold - Owner won't fight move to revoke liquor license

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Saturday, November 9, 2002
Author: LAWRENCE SUSSMAN, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
 

It's "last call" for a downtown bar tonight, marking the second time in the last 3 1/2 years that bar owner Chad Burns has closed a tavern under pressure from local officials.

A Village Board hearing on revoking the liquor license for Burns' Club 1304, at 1304 12th Ave., is set for Monday night.

Burns, of Cedarburg, said Friday that he would not fight the move.

"I'm turning in my (liquor) license on Monday," he said. "The business is sold. There's no sense in fighting this. Basically, I'm turning the business over a week early." He had planned to close Nov. 16.

Matthew D. Keipe, 28, who lives near Green Lake, is the bar's new owner.

In 1999, Burns closed the Club Avalon in Sussex after that village refused to renew the club's liquor license. As he did then, Burns blamed the imminent Club 1304 closing on a small number of bad customers.

"I'm in a business that if a few idiots come into my business and do something stupid, I get punished for it," he said. "So what are you going to do?"

As part of the village's complaint, Grafton officials cited five alleged incidents at the bar this year. In the most recent on Oct. 26, police alleged that an 18-year-old Grafton man was served so much liquor at the bar that he passed out on the street outside and had to be taken to Columbia St. Mary's Ozaukee Campus in Mequon for treatment.

Trustee Frank Knetter asked Burns why the young man was served, and why so much.

"Fake IDs are not very hard to get," Burns replied.

In June 1999, the Sussex Village Board unanimously voted not to renew Burns' liquor license for Club Avalon. Trustees said they could no longer jeopardize public safety by allowing a nightclub plagued by escalating problems, including brawls and gunshots, to operate.

At the time, Burns said the non-renewal was "100 percent" racially motivated because the club was drawing African-Americans from Milwaukee. On Tuesday night, however, Burns conceded to the Grafton board: "My past record doesn't speak wonders. I was 21 when I bought the bar in Sussex (in 1997).

"I was very arrogant. Everything the city said to do, I did the opposite."

On Tuesday night, the Grafton board approved a resolution unanimously authorizing Monday's revocation hearing. If that hearing is not held because the license has been surrendered, it will save "a minimum of a couple of thousand dollars" in legal fees, Village Administrator Darrell Hofland said Friday.

Also Friday, Village President Rick Leach said the Grafton Police Department had been warned about possible trouble at the bar tonight and planned to keep tabs on it.

Port council denies tavern cabaret license - Coyotes' neighbors complained of bar patrons' conduct

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI) - Friday, June 20, 2003
Author: DAN BENSON, [email protected], Journal Sentinel
 

The Common Council has denied a cabaret license that permits bands and disc jockeys to perform in a downtown tavern because of complaints from neighbors about patrons.

Aldermen unanimously rejected the license request from Erik Straseske for his downtown tavern , Coyotes, 219 N. Franklin St., because of the complaints.

"My Saturday and Sunday mornings are mostly spent washing the urine off my sidewalk" left by the bar patrons, neighbor Barbara Arrowood wrote to city officials.

"A business operator has the responsibility to contain noise, trash and the actions of his/her patrons around the premises," another neighbor, Daniel McCotter, wrote. "The current (and past) operators have not fulfilled this obligation."

Another neighbor, Brendan M. Comer, wrote, "If (Coyotes) continues to operate as it has to date, its success will come at the expense of all the other businesses, property owners and residents downtown."

Coyotes opened in March.

On its Web site, Coyotes is described as a place where "the music is fresh, and the bartenders are beautiful" with "beautiful Women dancing on the Bar."

A number of photos on the Web site show men and women, apparently bar patrons, dancing and drinking.

The bar showcases dance music each weekend produced by disc jockeys.

This isn't the first time Straseske has run afoul of local authorities over the conduct of his bar patrons.

In June 1999, the Sussex Village Board unanimously voted not to renew a liquor license for Club Avalon, a bar co-owned by Straseske.

Trustees said they could no longer jeopardize public safety by allowing a nightclub plagued by escalating problems, including brawls and gunshots, to operate.

Straseske also has had to fight legal battles as co-owner of Cocktails and Dreams Gentleman's Club in Juneau, a nightclub that features exotic dancers.

In an effort to control activity at the club, the Juneau City Council passed an ordinance in July 2000 that banned nude dancing and sexually oriented behavior in places that serve alcohol.

Straseske and his partner filed an injunction to keep the business open while they filed a complaint against the city. They argued the ordinance violated their First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

A Dodge County circuit judge later ruled the ban was too broad and didn't make an exception for serious artistic works.

Straseske did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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