Alderman Mike Shields heatedly addressed the Public Safety and Licensing Committee Monday night that's chaired by Alderman Aron Wisneski. Shields was ruled out of order for arguing.
Aldermen Aron Wisneski and Michael Shields continued their contentious relationship Monday night during two committee meetings.
First, Shields opposed Wisneski's effort at the Finance and Personnel Committee to get six decorative street lights for his district. Then, Shields heatedly engaged Wisneski during the Public Safety and Licensing Committee meeting over questions the committee was asking Tommy Daniels, who is trying to reopen the former "Cash Money's" as "Tommy's Den" at 901 S. Memorial Drive. Daniels turned in his liquor license to the city back in February rather than improve security.
The aldermen have exchanged words in the past over the Public Safety and Licensing Committee's aggressive oversight of liquor licenses in the city. The committee routinely calls in bars to explain incidents with police and to demand tighter security measures, such as video cameras, electronic ID checkers and private security.
On Monday night, Shields said the committee "micromanages" businesses applying for liquor licenses and suggested Daniels was being treated unfairly. During the tense exchange, Alderman Bob Mozol called Shields "out of order" for arguing with the committee. Shields then backed down and the committee voted to defer action on Daniels' request for two weeks.
Last month, Shields exhorted Wisneski's committee for the way it works with minority business owners. "The way they drill people of color is a problem with me," he said July 28.
Wisneski responded in July that Shields was misinformed. "Our committee is doing its job," he said. "We don't hand out licenses like candy. Liquor licenses are a serious job for our committee."
On Monday night the committee considered Daniels' application for a new liquor license for 901 S. Memorial Drive. Daniels was under scrutiny earlier this year for a murder and shooting that occurred near the bar. Mozol nearly lost his temper Monday night when addressing Daniels, saying Cash Money's "was not just a normal bar that closed." He said Daniels needed a detailed business plan to win over the committee's support. Wisneski recommended Daniels meet with City Attorney Rob Weber to work out an agreement within the next two weeks.
Shields said the committee needed to make it clear to applicants what they need to show to win approval for a license. Wisneski responded the City Clerk hands out a sample business plan and specific questions to all liquor license applicants.
As an aside to the issue, Daniels will not have to pay $10,000 to acquire one of the city's "reserve" "Class B" liquor licenses because he applied when a license was available. As of now, the city is at a state-mandated quota for liquor licenses and anyone who wants to open a bar or restaurant with a full bar would need to purchase one of the reserve licenses.