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Moose Country Owner Faces Liquor License Violation After Christmas Night Brawl

Misdemeanor charge alleges when police arrived, well after 2 a.m., drinks were still on tables, tabs still being paid.

The city of Lilydale is pressing charges against the owner of Moose Country after review of a bar room brawl on Christmas night that may have been fueled by after-hours liquor service.

The city’s criminal attorney Tom Lehmann filed charges Tuesday against Joe Schaefer, who also owns the Wild Onion in St. Paul. The misdemeanor charge states that by allowing alcohol to be served after hours, Schaefer was in violation of his liquor license, and thus city ordinance.

Lehmann told the city council Feb. 14 that charging the bartenders and managers instead could jeopardize their testimony in pending court cases. “It should probably start at the top and work its way down,” said Lehmann.

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. The fights were described as being between customers and between customers and bouncers.

Lehmann said officers saw people with drinks still on the tables, and paying out at the bar.

Squads from West St. Paul, Eagan and South St. Paul also responded to the scene to help break up the fights.

No injuries were reported, and as police broke up the various skirmishes people left the scene without further incident, according to the report. No one was arrested.

Schaefer did not return a message left at the business requesting an interview.

The council scoured the city ordinances before making the unanimous recommendation to press charges. Council member Warren Peterson said he was concerned that the charges could jeopardize the business’ liquor license. Ultimately, the council has discretion over what to do with the license regardless of the criminal case’s outcome. They will wait to review civil penalties until after the legal proceedings are complete.

“I think we need to know where this goes,” said Mayor Anita Pampusch. 

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