The owner of Moose Country pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a liquor license violation charge related to out-of-control behavior at the Lilydale bar on Christmas night of last year.
The city’s criminal attorney, Tom Lehmann, filed the charge Feb. 15 against Joe Schaefer, who also owns the Wild Onion in St. Paul. The misdemeanor charge asserts that by allowing alcohol to be served after hours, Schaefer was in violation of his liquor license, and thus city ordinance, a misdemeanor.
Schaefer's attorney, Michael Black, said the lines of communication are open between his client and the city. "Unless we make a settlement we intend to pursue the court case."
According to an incident report, police were dispatched to Moose Country at 2:16 a.m., Dec. 26 where they found people fighting in the parking lot, the bar and on the dance floor. People were observed with drinks still on the tables, and paying out at the bar. Multiple police agencies responded.
The city has pursued a top-down response to the incident, leaving out bar management and staff.
Police Chief Mike Aschenbrener said he wants to see Schaefer penalized and held to the standards of the license as well as the city's Best Practices program for liquor sales.
Lehmann told the council that the criminal case would likely get to trial in the early fall, but that he thought it was unlikely that it would go that far. The council has decided to review civil penalties after the criminal case has been decided.