The State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division reversed the city of Traer's denial of the liquor license for the Windup Lounge in a hearing held in Des Moines on October 10.
The Windup, which applied for a liquor license renewal back in August, was denied by a 2-2 vote of the Traer City Council due to a perceived lack of control at the bar. Some council members who felt the Windup was overserving customers and not controlling fights did not feel they received adequate explanation at that month's council meeting and therefore denied the renewal.
The hearing before the Iowa ABD was held via teleconference with representatives from the Windup and the city, along with counsel, attending. The Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ, listened to testimony from both sides before making a decision.
Ryan Currens, of Tama County Emergency Management, presented a list of records of police dispatch and 911 calls involving the Windup. There were a total of 11 calls listed on the ALJ's report, some of which were things as routine as an accidental trip of an alarm.
Ms. Cathy Wilson Jacobs, owner of the Windup, testified that she has never been denied renewal in 12 years, according to the ALJ report. In addition, Ms. Wilson Jacobs noted that the Windup has never been cited for sales to minors, and the incidents detailed with the police and 911 calls only resulted in one arrest and one incident inside the premises for 18 months.
Daron Jacobs has worked at the Windup for six years, and seconded Ms. Wilson Jacobs' testimony.
"I just chalk it up as a misunderstanding," Mr. Jacobs told the Star-Clipper. "And I hope now we can just move on."
The ALJ made the decision based on several factors. After reviewing the testimony of the licensees and the records of police and 911 calls, Judge Robert H. Wheeler stated that the local authority may consider factors such as "pattern and practice by the licensee... violating alcoholic beverage laws and regulations for which corrective action has been taken since the previous license or permit was issue."
The judge's decision went on to state that "the licensee [Windup Lounge] has had no violation of Iowa Code section 123.49(2)(h) (sale of alcohol to an underage person) in the 12 years since the bar was licensed."
The record also contained "No evidence of citations for serving alcohol to intoxicated persons or criminal convictions."
The judge also found that there was no evidence on record showing that police calls were made due to improper or illegal conduct on the part of Windup ownership.
The city will not appeal the decision.