City Council Denies Liquor License Renewal To The Powder River Veterans Club
Legally, Casper City Council had no choice.
Tuesday, council unanimously denied the Powder River Veterans Club's application to renew its limited liquor license during a special meeting.
"It's not our decision now," Mayor Charlie Powell said.
The State Liquor Division told City Attorney Bill Luben last week that it had learned there was no legal connection between the club and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 991, which meets at the club.
The VFW's name was on the renewal application, but the license would have gone to the club at 420 W. First St., Liquor Division official Tom Montoya told Luben.
“Based on these facts alone, the City Council cannot renew this license with the Powder River Veterans Club, Inc. If the Powder River Post 991 wishes to reapply with a proper lease in place then they may qualify for a liquor license,” Montoya wrote.
That rendered moot previous discussions about the club's violations of its license including ejecting law enforcement, citations for serving liquor to non-VFW members and their guests, and advertising events for the public even though its license prohibited that.
After a long public hearing last week, council approved all the liquor license renewals in the city, except the club's. Council member Kenyne Schlager successfully requested the club's license include conditions including allowing law enforcement to enter the establishment at any time, and the renewal be discussed at another meeting.
Tuesday, council held another hearing.
Representatives of the club tried to explain that the VFW post had a lease with the club, and wondered why there had never been a problem with renewals in the past.
Council members said the club's poor conduct brought the legal issue to the fore.
Because the opinion of the Liquor Division overrides the city, Powell said the club and the division will need to resolve their differences between themselves.
No one else spoke in favor of the renewal.
But Dr. David Iszler and his wife Sheryl strongly spoke against it.
The club is next door to the Iszler's Casper Family Chiropractic business.
The vehicles of the Iszlers and their employees have been damaged, the "no parking" signs are ignored," broken glass and cans litter the area, and employees have felt threatened, David Iszler said. ""it's just been a nightmare."
Luben recommended council ask Schlager to withdraw her motion, and then have the whole council deny the request.
Schlager withdrew her motion, and the council recorded its unanimous vote to deny the renewal.
The club could apply for another license if it became affiliate with a national veterans organization or social club like the Elks.
But council member Bob Hopkins said if that were to happen, the club members would need to show that they were intent on becoming good neighbors.
The club's 2014-2015 license will remain in effect until March 31. The club can meet and hold events after that, but they can't serve liquor.
VFW Post 911 Commander Bob Cook said after the meeting he was upset, but the matter wasn't over but he didn't say how.
"All I'm going to say is we're going to work on it and try to get it right," Cook said.