A Tale of Two Liquor License Applicants

Two different Downtown Racine Liquor License Applicants, same general area. The only difference between the two applicants is their Race and relationship with Mayor John Dickert. Doug Nicholson is a White male who hosted fundraisers for John Dickert and already operates two establishments with liquor licenses in Downtown Racine, Envi and Ivanhoe’s, which are less than a block away from his new establishment, Carriage House Liquors, which is located in an area that is considered fragile and which already has an excessively high number of establishments with existing liquor licenses.

Application for a liquor license by Lakeside Liquor, Downtown Racine. Applicants Mr. Choi and Mr. Chun.


Alderman Wisneski: This is an application of Lakeside Liquor, also known as Lakeside Pantry for a class A retail fermented malt beverage and intoxicating beverage liquor license.

City Administrator Tom Friedel: Do I have a motion, please?

Alderman Wisneski: Oh, I’m sorry; the motion is to deny the application.

City Administrator Tom Friedel: Is there a second?

Alderman Wisneski: Due to the fragility of the neighborhood and high concentration of existing liquor establishments in the area. Given how many licenses there already are in the area, um, just for consistency of arguments in previous cases before, I think it is legitimate to say that there are a great concentrations of licenses there right now. That in conjunction with the concern about the fragility of the neighborhood. Um, also I’d like to point out that we didn’t tell Mr. Choi that he can’t open an Indian and Asian goods, a Clothier for example, we didn’t tell him that he can’t open a restaurant, or that he can’t open a bookstore, or that he can’t open a video game store, or a McDonalds. We also didn’t tell him that he can’t open a convenience store, although if you hear many people talk about it recently, we told him that he can’t open his store, he’s got to keep those doors shut. What we told him was, that you absolutely can open a convenience store. We are just recommending that you cannot sell alcohol on those premises.

Alderman Coe: I end up setting a meeting with Mr. Chun and Mr. Choi actually, and to their credit, I mean they were trying to bend over backwards to appease some of the things that people were worried about, half pints and pints. Just to let people know, uh, everything that I mentioned to them, that they would not have to, but they did agree to, that they agreed to no pints, no half-pints, no single cans of serving, no forty-ouncers, they offered to sell only upscale, more upscale beers and the malt liquor, and stuff like that that would alleviate a lot of the concerns.

Alderman Shields: I think that the Committee in a lot of cases has been unfair. I think that the Committee has treated certain individuals differently than other people, and that’s my belief. And I strongly believe that. I would stand up for that. I think this should go back for renegotiation’s because that Committee, they know I have a lot of problems with some of the decisions they make when it comes to People of Color.

Application for a liquor license by Carriage House Liquors, Downtown Racine. Applicant Doug Nicholson.

Alderman Greg Helding: An application of ATM Financial Services LLC, DBA Carriage House Liquor, Douglas Nicholson agent, for Class B fermented malt and intoxicating liquor license, 220 State St. Recommendation of the Committee is that the license be approved.

Alderman Sandy Weidner: In regards to the new license. I get the Class B’s confused. Is this going to be a Tavern, or a liquor store, or…?
Alderman Greg Helding: This is a retail establishment that’s using the ability of the Class B, which is only a bar license, to sell retail. It also allows them to have special events where they can have the manufacturer in, whatever, to do sampling, or the retailer, whatever, to sample the latest thing. Uh and that on premise consumption normally wouldn’t be allowed without a Class B. So at just a strictly Class A type of place you wouldn’t be able to have, um, you wouldn’t be able to sample, um have an event like that, with a lot of sampling.

Alderman Sandy Weidner: A follow up question. Was there any discussion about concentration in the neighborhood?

Alderman Greg Helding: Uh. NO. There wasn’t.


AND Doug Nicholson received a $20,000 Facade Grant for 220 State St.  for Carriage House Liquors BEFORE the business was approved!So how did applicant Doug Nicholson even get approved when he was UNQUALIFIED? And it was fellow Racine City Tavern League member Joey Legath who on February 4, 2013 first proposed expanding the facade grant program to Taverns. Of course, City Taxpayers had no idea that LeGath and other Racine CIty Tavern League Members wanted to help themselves to free taxpayer $$$ for their private businesses.



Only 3 days later a $20,000 Facade Grant (free taxpayer money) for Carriage House Liquors was approved, on February 7, 2013. YET – Carriage House Liquors wasn’t even approved for operation by the Racine Common Council until May 6, 2014. Over one year later! How is that possible, much less legal? What potentially illegal and unethical insider deals were made at Racine City Hall?

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The Liquor License for Carriage House Liquors wasn’t approved by the Racine Common Council until May 6, 2014. Over one year after Doug Nicholson was awarded $20,000 in a facade grant for a Business in Downtown Racine that wasn’t even approved for operation!

May 6 2014 Carriage House Liquor License Approval

RESULT: No surprise on the decisions here. Commissioner Micah Waters, who presented the request of RCTL member Doug Nicholson at the Downtown Area Design Review Board, was himself already the Beneficiary of TID 17 and was to receive a $150,000 Facade Grant along with “$1,100,000 in development incentives”, costing taxpayers  “$634,012 in financing expense, and $51,050 in expenses for creation and administration of the District”. (estimated total of $1,785,062) This item was not publicly discussed in the news media. Membership pays.

Now while the Dickert Administration was quickly and quietly, approving the requests of RCTL members and expanding spending programs outside the spotlight of public scrutiny, PUBLICLY, Mayor John Dickert was claiming that The City of Racine was in dire financial straits, street lights would be removed to save money, services would be cut, and non-profits were asked to donate to city coffers.

In The City of Racine, does it pay to host Fundraisers for John Dickert, be a member of the Racine City Tavern League, and be Caucasian? YES! It does!

John Dickert Fundraiser


Plaintiffs Continue to Seek Justice in Racine Lawsuit

The Plaintiffs in THOMAS J. HOLMES, et al., v.  JOHN DICKERT, et al., Case No. 14-CV-208 have responded to the Defendants Motion to Dismiss and the next course of action rests with the Defendants, who have 14 days to respond. Should the Defendants choose not to respond in writing, the Court may move to oral arguments, or make a decision on the Motions. Almost forgotten, is that the Racine County Circuit Court, in a decision upheld by the  Wisconsin Court of  Appeals, already ruled that Thomas J. Holmes  right to due process was violated by The City of Racine, City of Racine Common Council, City of Racine Public Safety and Licensing Committee and Kurt Whalen; in an unlawful act that also deprived Thomas Holmes to the use of his private property, business, and the ability to provide a living for his Family and himself.  See:  State of Wisconsin Court of Appeals Case No. 2011AP2282.

Thomas Holmes speaks before the Racine Common Council, January 17, 2013:

In the unanimous decision for Case No. 2011AP2282, the Court found that the Racine Common Council acted unjustly upon the unsworn complaint of Kurt Whalen, made in violation of State statutes, while the Racine Public Safety and Licensing Committee  unlawfully assumed jurisdiction over the matter and acted illegally to revoke Thomas Holmes liquor license; thus violating Mr. Holmes right to due process, while depriving him of the use of his private property.

While The City of Racine frivolously attempted to claim that an oath, or swearing of a statement was a meaningless trapping, the Court sternly reminded the City and Kurt Whalen that the statutory requirement of a sworn complaint is there to prevent baseless harassment of legitimate businesses. The Court properly concluded that Kurt Whalen, in his failure to comply with State statutes and swear to the complaint, was untrustworthy while assisting the City in violating Thomas Holmes right to due process.

The Racine Equality Project  can only ask – if the City and Kurt Whalen believe that swearing to a complaint is trivial and of no importance, why then didn’t Kurt Whalen simply swear to it? Because false swearing is a Class H Felony? And why is Kurt Whalen being employed by The Village of Mount Pleasant as the Village Administrator? Kurt Whalen, in his defense against the current lawsuit doesn’t even deny being involved in racially motivated or predicate acts – only that his level of racism is up to debate and that he didn’t commit enough predicate acts to be considered a Racketeer. From Kurt Whalen’s defense in his Motion to Dismiss for THOMAS J. HOLMES, et al., v.  JOHN DICKERT, et al., Case No. 14-CV-208, page 48:

 At best, the allegations against Wahlen indicate that Wahlen engaged in racially motivated actions (though that, too, is tenuous).  However, such actions cannot constitute predicate acts under RICO. See,e.g.Jennings, 910 F.2d at 1438 (holding that violations of “civil rights and constitutional law” are not predicate acts under RICO). And, even if these were predicate acts, there is no plausible scenario in which these actions, which occurred, at most, over six months, allege a “pattern of racketeering” against Whalen. (See supra,at Section II.B.1, collecting caselaw indicating that the commission of a few predicate acts committed within a short period of time is not a “pattern of racketeering”)

A Predicate Act is a crime which is composed of some of the elements of a more serious crime and which is committed for carrying out the greater crime.

The Plaintiffs argue that they have specifically alleged sufficient facts to plead a multitude of predicate acts as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1) and Wis. Stat. § 946.82, Wisconsin’s state RICO act (“WOCCA”), including, but not limited to, violations of the following federal and state crimes:

• Extortion in violation of the federal extortion statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b);
• Extortion in violation of the Wisconsin extortion statute, Wis. Stat. 943.30;
• Bribery in violation of the federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201(b);
• Bribery in violation of the Wisconsin bribery statute, Wis. Stat. 946.10;
• Receiving an unlawful gratuity in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 201(c);
• Receiving an unlawful gratuity in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 11.25(1);
• Official misconduct in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 946.12;
• False swearing in violation of Wisconsin law, Wis. Stat. 946.32(1)(a);
• Honest services fraud in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1346; and
• Money laundering in violation of federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i)

Below is the Plaintiffs Reply to the Municipal Defendants Motion to Dismiss:

Below is the Plaintiffs Reply to the Racine City Tavern League Defendants Motion to Dismiss:

Below is the Plaintiffs Reply to the Downtown Racine Corporation Defendants Motion to Dismiss:

Below is the Plaintiffs Reply to the Doug Nicholson and Monte Osterman’s Motion to Dismiss:

Below is the Complaint for the Lawsuit:


Racine Equality Project *WINS* Best Float in 2014 City of Racine Fourth of July Parade!

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Click on Image to enlarge.Racine Equality Project C


The Racine Equality Project Files An Ethics Complaint

On June 25, 2014, The Racine Equality filed an Ethics Complaint against District 3 Racine County Supervisor Monte Osterman. Following the filing of the Complaint, Dr. Ken Yorgan had this to say:

The Racine Equality Project, in response to citizen concerns, has pursued an investigation into the activities of certain elected officials and non-elected public employees. This investigation has been done with a thorough examination of public records, including tapes and transcripts of public meetings and statements by the parties being investigated. What we have found is very revealing, often disappointing, and sometimes quite disturbing.

As a result of this investigation, and following review by independent legal counsel, a Compliant with substantial evidence has been filed with the Racine County Board of Ethics regarding certain activities by District 3 County Supervisor Monte Osterman. This is personally disappointing to me, because I was originally a supporter of Mr. Osterman when he ran for office, just over two years ago. Mr. Osterman ran and was elected following the retirement of Supervisor Diane Lange, who had served the County Board for many years with honor, integrity and courage and it is especially sad to reflect on the loss of her presence on the County Board.

The evidence that has been submitted to the Racine County Board of Ethics is factual and compelling. It is now their responsibility to review it, conduct a proper investigation, hear Mr. Osterman’s reply, and if necessary, refer the matter to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

Most private citizens are aware, often through personal experience, that no excuses are accepted for violations of laws, statutes, and ordinances. Public officials need to be held to that same standard when operating under the public trust, making decisions that affect our wealth and well-being. this is a serious matter, and we hope for a sober and deliberative response.

View the entire Complaint Below:

Exhibits 1-9 are Below

Exhibits 10-21 are Below

Exhibit 8: Monte Osterman Speaks on Rootworks

Exhibit 15: Sandy Weidner speaks on Rootworks