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.

Transcript:

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.

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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.

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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

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