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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Club's liquor license up in the air

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

Doubts persist about owner of old Club Cancun
By Alex Friedrich
Article Launched: 03/07/2008 12:01:00 AM CST

Club Mesian's future as a North End party place is still up in the air over a permit to serve alcohol.

The club's liquor license is set to expire in June. And problems with noise and underage drinking have prompted St. Paul officials to wonder whether the club should continue to serve liquor without restrictions.

After all, it has struggled to overcome the rowdy reputation it had under its former name — Club Cancun.

On Wednesday, the City Council agreed to ask an administrative law judge to review the case and issue a recommendation.

For Council Member Lee Helgen, the question is: "Does (owner) Sean Lee really know how to operate a bar of that size?"

Lee did not return a Pioneer Press phone call requesting comment.

For years, the bar at 1638 Rice St. was known as Club Cancun and had a problematic reputation. As in many bars, teens younger than 18 were allowed in. Although they legally aren't allowed to drink, many did anyway.

After a number of fights and noise problems at the club, the City Council in 2005 cracked down on bars and prohibited underage adults in areas where alcohol is served. The bar's owner also added off-duty police to maintain the peace, city officials said.

Since then, things apparently have been quieter.

In February 2007, city officials say, management changed and Lee took over the bar. The club was renamed Club Mesian but continued to use the old liquor license.

Despite a series of hearings, Lee has been unable to wrangle a new license out of the city.
Part of the problem may be uncertainty over just who is running the place.

Lee has family ties to the building's owner, Paul Xiong, according to several people who have spoken with both men.

At one point, Xiong sought the liquor license and was rejected.

Lee is now seeking the license, but city officials say it's unclear whether he's the one calling the shots.

In the meantime, the club has been cited for selling to at least one underage drinker as well as for multiple noise complaints from neighbors, said Christine Rozek, deputy director for the city's Department of Safety and Inspections.

Lee could still run the bar if the holder of the current liquor license renews it, Rozek said. But she said it's possible the City Council would attach restrictions, considering the bar's recent track record.

So far, Helgen said, management "talks a good game — but then there's no follow-up."

9:26 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Club Cancun, isn't responsible for the social ills that fill upon their door step. Our city leaders are!

When the bar called the police for help the police informed the bar the criminal problem was their responsibility. Get better security or will close you down.

The police have better things to do like eat donuts.

The owners of the bar like so many other businesses are left wondering what they pay taxes for.

Because they own a business deemed immoral by a city council they have no right to protection from thugs and are told to deal with it themselves.

Our civic leaders are responsible for controlling crime. Instead they take the low road, the easy way out and continually pass the blame to businesses owners and landlords.

How about letting businesses and landlords call the police for help and investigate, arrest, and convict criminals instead of chasing them off to someplace else where they can commit more crimes.

Our city leaders have talked a GOOD GAME to shift responsibility of social ills onto innocent people.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Security in businesses is a tough issue. Should it be a part of the police responsibility to be stationed inside a private business? If so how many more police officers would we need to have 500, 1,000?

So, if we as a City can't afford to give every business owner (and landlord) their own personal police officer to provide security, who's responsible to maintain security at businesses that serve the public?

Ultimately it becomes a cost of doing business in the big City.

No one has a right to sell liquor to the public. It is a priviledge that you buy a license to operate. That has been true from the day the country was formed and was true in England before then for about 500 more years.

"Public houses and taverns" are the most regulated industry that there is. None of this is new. If you can't run an orderly "public house or tavern" you go out of business. No license.


Chuck Repke

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

Chuck, I have partys all the time and I give beer and whiskey away for free.

This is my right isnt it ?

When we repealed the 18th ammendment we gave our citizens the right to sell alchohol after prohibition.

From what I read here, its seems more of a problem of underage drinking and fights that could be taken care of with better management.

I say give the guy his license
if he cleans up his act.

If we don't then we have to shut most of them down because most
establishments violate the law to.

Isnt that how code enforcement works ?

Jeff Matiatos

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me, the people determine if liquor itself is legal in the country and for a time not only said it was not your right to sell it, it wasn't even your right to own it.

Jeff you can give booze away for free, you just can't charge for it, or for the cups, or for admittance to come into your house to get the free booze.

If you do those things you are breaking the law. And I guess you could say that it is kind of like the landlords who violate the code and then blame the City for having laws, or at least trying to make them follow them.

Some people think laws shouldn't apply to them.


Chuck Repke

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are responsible for their own behavior not city leaders Bob.
Cops eat doughnuts? Are you serious? We are at a shortage of cops on the street and you want them at a bar?

This is nothing but sour grapes over what happened to your friends over at Diva's. Get over it.

The bar is a business and making sure that underage people are not breaking the law on your property, or violence on your property, is your responsibility. While the individuals will be and should be charged, the owner bares a responsibility in providing a law abiding and safe atmosphere. We they do not, that's where enforcement steps in.

You don't a right to own and a run a business. We have regulations and ordinances the tell you what rights you have under the privilege of a business license. Be it a bar or rental property.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Listen folks. Bars do all they can to provide security for their patrons.

The city threatens bar owners into NOT calling the police for help, for excessive calls to the police from a bar.

The city threatens owners with license revocation. What this has done is DECREASE security for patrons of bars because bars across the city have "DO NOT CALL THE POLICE POLICIES". So untrained citizens(bouncers) are left to deal with some very violent patrons.

It is silly to assert we should have a police officer in every bar. We don't need that. What we do need is the citizens confidence restored in our police dept. that we can call them to come to our aide when we need them with out consquences for calling for help.

I know a man who called the police because his ex-wife broke his windshield. He is standing at his car waiting for the police and the police pull up and slam him to the hood of his car. He was charged with Obstruction of Justice for daring to ask the cops "hey what are you doing to me I called you". I guess maybe his skin was a little to dark for him to be calling the police for assistance.

I called the police because my car was vandalized. $1800.00 worth of broken windows. The cop(Bennett) didn't like the way my lady friend was angered over the issue. So he threatened not to file a report.

I know of another man who was assaulted with a bat and he identified the perpetrators and the police did absolutely nothing.

I know of 2 burglaries that were committed and the police did not even file a report until I raised hell. If you are of a certain economic class or color you become less of a priority to the police dept.

Landlords and caretakers across the city are afraid to ask for help from the police. They fear losing their rental certificate. Like other citizens they are forced to deal with the violent criminals that get shuffled around the city due to the "get rid of the nest get rid of the critter mentality".

The city's crime strategy is blame OTHERS for the police departments inability to investigate, arrest and convict criminals.

Ya know if the police cooperated with a bar, it would get around town if you go to this establishment and screw up you go to jail.

Club Cancun could have gained a reputation with the public as a place where a bad guy could get a one way ticket to jail, instead the city deemed them a problem property with the sole intention of shifting public pressure of blame to an innocent business owner.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason bars remain open at all is for tax revenue like anyother buisness (as far as the city is concerned).

The city probably doesnt want to get sued because they responded to a violent fight, and some prik brawler got roughd up by the police
who probably deserved it.

Go to a bar to eat and drink, not fight..

As much as I am displeased with this code enforcement buisness, and I am with the RICOMEN, the city and the best interest of tax payors are better off staying out of a bar,where roudy bars have the ultimate responcibility to keep the peace and comply with the rules in the city code .

I agree with Bob that police target
and discriminate .

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What good does it do the city Chuck to blame the landlord or the bar owner and maybe even close up his business. They shut down a problem property and the "real problem" (the occupants) just moves somewhere else and causes the same problems all over again. Is this your idea of an effective response to crime? All it does is enable crime and allow it to fester and grow, to the pioint where it is out of control.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Bob you explain to me why some bars have problem patrons and others don't?

I will never forget watching Nick Mancini well into his sixties grabbing a loud drunk by the collar and throwing him out the door. He just wasn't going to put up with that shit in his bar.

The problem that troubled bars have is that they tollerate crap because they need the business. The jerks become the regulars and they never get the boot.


Chuck Repke

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

A strong police presence in the community can help prevent crime but they can't predict a bar fight
or when teens are walking through the doors of these night scene clubs.

Ever see police in your local bank and schools ?
( Rent a cop ).

I think though that their is a city policy that prevents police from being security in bars.

I think a cop was killed doing under cover in a bar so I guess that wouldnt work.

Could We get the city council to permit police to be security in bars for a price ?

Bar fights and underage drinking in the clubs go with the territory and it has been that way for a long long time.

The police are not to blame or the city council.

Jeff Matiatos

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Police and the City council are to blame Jeff. We elect politicians because they say they are going to make the city safer, and they say it every single election, and as many times as they can.

We then pay taxes to fund the Police so they can make the city safe.

Neither are doing their job. Instead they are blaming everyone else they can get their hands on, and this emables the crime to continue and grow. It doesn't take an "Einstien" to figure out that if there is no accountibiltiy for criminal behavior, then it jsut gets worse.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

1:04 a.m. ,

I wouldnt totally disagree with you and you might be right on a community basis (some worse than others).

Your right to feel that St.Paul fits that criteria isn't without merit.

I played in pool leagues since 1989
and am an original member of Minnesotas largest pool leage and have been in just about every bar and tavern in the metro area.

I havent seen the fights going on during these times and most of the fights and other happens on weekends..

This is when the police can be more diligent kind of like when they are looking for drunks leaving the bars.

Police can spot those things but they cant know when a fight is going to break out.

A bouncer is the first line of defence and its always been that way.

Blaming police because they cant predict when a fight will break out or underage drinking is not reasonable.

The management needs to make the message clear but needs to do it in a way where they dom't chase away there patrons.....

Jeff Matiatos

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee Helgen said,"For Council Member Lee Helgen, the question is: "Does (owner) Sean Lee really know how to operate a bar of that size?"

Ciani says,"Does Helgen know how to run a city of this size?"

Chuck said,"Security in businesses is a tough issue. Should it be a part of the police responsibility to be stationed inside a private business? If so how many more police officers would we need to have 500, 1,000?"

Ciani says,"But you and your buddy Thune thought government should put their noses in every business concerning smoking.And I bet if people starting smoking in bars across the city the police would show up and make it their business.Chuck your full of double standards."

Chuck said,"So, if we as a City can't afford to give every business owner (and landlord) their own personal police officer to provide security, who's responsible to maintain security at businesses that serve the public?"

Ciani says,"Why not?Pha gets officers and a pivate army to police their buildings for free.YEP THEY PAY NO TAXES.But I;m sure they have no problems,right Chuck?Atleast the bars pay taxes.They should get the services.If this liberal city wasn't spending the money on other things they'd have the money for things the taxes were intended for."

Chuck said,""Public houses and taverns" are the most regulated industry that there is. None of this is new. If you can't run an orderly "public house or tavern" you go out of business. No license."

Ciani says,"Chuck where in the citys plan are they ever adressing the people that cause the problems and crime?Closing down a tavern or private property just moves the problem to different neighborhoods.Hopefully out of St.Paul,huh Chuck?Is closing things down teaching criminals lesson and reforming them?STUPID!?

Chuck when will you wake up?The sad thing is,is that you sign your posts that its your opinion but I'd bet that Dave Thune agrees with you and he's running this city.WOW!

Tim Ciani

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

In your defence 1:04 a.m. I just recalled where St.Paul passed an ordanance regarding pool halls as a result of the killings at Jimmmys billiards.

Somebody help me on this one but here is an example where city hall has stepped in and attempted to deal with the issue of public safety in a bar type establishment.

This would tend to lean towards Bobs argument that city government has taken it amongst themselves to protect and regulate in this kind of setting before so then it is the citys partial responcibility.

The question becomes then which city agency should be the enforcer.

Lets ask the council members to babysit at the clubs on a friday-saturday night.

Jeff Matiatos

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the agreement for police standing guard duty for PHA gives them a rent free apartment for one year, its not known whether money payments are part of the deal but my understanding is that PHA uses the police to intimidate the PHA residents more to keep THEM under control.

Mostly they are the younger cops just out of the academey that are pulling this glorified guard duty.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Bob said...


Mancini's caters to middle aged and elderly folks. Club Cancun patrons are young people. Young men are generally responsible for fighting in bars.

I have a few friends who own bars. If you want to make money you have to target the younger generation for patronage because the patrons just aren't there among an older age group.

Music, controls what type of patrons a bar has. Club Cancun could have gotten rid of it's rowdy patrons (young people)by playing country music every night. But then they would be giving up a large proportion of their profits.

Currently at most bars a fella can get away with an assault. The bar doesn't want to call the police to press charges because of the consquences of calling the police for help. SO, they just kick the guy out and the guy leaves without any real consquences for his behavior.

If the police WORKED with bar owners we could easily identify repeat offenders of disorderly conduct and hold these people accountable.

We need to send the message if you aren't acting responsibly in a business establishment you will go to jail.

Blaming and penalizing innocent people for others behavior is oppressive. These "get rid of the nest to get rid of the critter policies" will come to haunt this city. Your friends brand of leadership is SICK Chuck and only serves to create a lack of trust among the citizens and local government.

If I, or like minded folks had a say in this city, Club Cancun would NOT have a reputation of being a rowdy bar. It would have a reputation of police working with the establishment to see that these rowdy drunks were made accountable for their behavior.
Thus reducing crime at this establishment.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see where Jeff would think that balming the Police may not be reasonable, but the city and its Police Department blaming innocent people is not reaonable either!

Any time the city is dealing with a problem created by a landlords tenants, they tell you if you are not part of the soloution then you are part of the problem. So tell me how the city is part of the soloution? Thier soloution is to blame and sometimes criminalize inncoent third parties for the acts of others. As a desperate last resort, they close the guys business down and just move the problem to another business. I'd say the city and its Police are part of the problem and its going to stay that way until they start holding the right people responsible.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

I could see that if police were not responding to these problems
in a timely or effective manner, then we can lable them part of the problem, but controlling noise disturbances and other problems are the responcibility of the owners and management period.

City government recognizes that these clubs probably are more of a headache to the community than a benifit other than tax revenue considering the liability and problems created by the patrons not the club owners and management.

I guess then club owners have to decide what kind of clientel they want to cater to in order to stay out of the cities cross hairs.

Cities give these liquour liscenses
out with the knowledge of the problems associated with that kind of buisness and to an extent, they presume their police will have extra duties .

In that respect, city government must take more responcibility and
not be so closed minded and blame the club owners.

The question remains, how much is the city willing to put up with.

For this reason, managements who at least try to curb the problems on their own should be given leway instead of being shut down.

No club owners want problems its the cliental that sets the stage for trouble.

The club owners know the buisness their in so they need to get the right employees and be prepared for anything.

It comes down to patrons acting responcibile.

Jeff Matiatos

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So which is it?....first you say the probelm is not with Police if they are responding in an acceptable time frame (and when they do they blame someone else) and then you go on to say the owners are responsible for taking care of noise and disturbance problems, but then you furthert go on to lay the blame back at the club owners door step by finding fault with his entertainment being the wrong type (what is the right type?)and then your back to the city because they hand out the license and should be prepared for anything. The for the first time you acknowledge the owners rights and say they shouold given some slack, but right away fip flop again going back to the owner being "ready for anything," but yet in the very next sentence saying that the patrons need to be responsible!

Why is it impossible for you to take a position and stand by it. You should be a politiican, you'd probably get elected!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck, how come every time Ciani makes a good point about the double standard you spew you never answer or disappear.Good points Tim.


8:38 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

Alright 8:15, call me John Kerry if you want but nobody gets their way 100 %.

Sounds like your flip flopping between what my opinion is and Bobs. Whats your solution ?

In case you can't finish reading my
post at 2:05, It says somthing about patrons.

Thats your answer.

Hope that clears things up.

Jeff Matiatos

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Because I don't take most of the "double standard" stuff seriously.

Tim's arguement is that if you can't enforce every law exactly the same on every piece of property at the same time then you can't enforce any laws.

Its silly.


Bar owners control what is and what isn't acceptable in thier bars. I started drinking in bars n this town when I was 14 and quit at 45, so, I have seen the highlights and low lights of Saint Paul bars.

They make their own beds. That is not saying that bad things can't happen at good places but it never took me more than ten minutes to figure out what bar you could expect a fight in and which you wouldn't.


Chuck Repke

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 8:44

I don't care what Bob's opinion is, nor yours for that matter. All I know is that I work hard and pay too much in taxes and expect something for the money taken from me. The start of that would be the basics....a Police dept that does something other than enforce a "political agenda" and a city council that has a plan regarding crime. This city has niether because of people like you that want to waffle all over the board and not be held to any certain position. You can't please everyone and sometimes you have to make the decision to stand by what you believe in. Apparantly you believe in nothing except what makes you feel good at the time. Bad people do bad things and they need to be held accountable...PERIOD! We've got tenants who grow up never being responsible for anything until they huirt someone, bars responsible for the bad behavior of third parties and convenience stores being closed cause of the behavior of people coming in iff the street and hanging around. No one is getting their monies worth except the people using up social services, and people are sick of it. The current hold everyone responsible but the responsible one is NOT working. Crime is getting worse, tenants are getting worse, and the cost of everything is going through the roof because we have ledership that wants to spend spend spend on everything except Police.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

1:42 a.m. ,

You say you dont care what my opinion is ? You dont have to because I am not a politician .

I never made you false promises or promises to you period .

When I run for office then you can lable me as a waffler because it goes with the territory.

You tell me to stand behind what I believe in ?

Who died and made you boss of me ?
I dont need you to tell me what I believe in.

As far as people using up social services, tell that to LBJ.

Some day you will be on food stamps and the working class will be paying for the smoking cancer that your going to get. Your dentures to.

You complain that you dont have the basics then your really in sad shape.

Maybe you should quit your job and cash in on some of them social services just to make a point !!

Let me guess, your not a waffler but I am ?

Ok, you run for office.

You live in this town but you bitch
from sun up to sun down with no end in sight ?

Move out buddy or do something about it.

I am not your master.

Jeff Matiatos

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

We all bitch here but there is no need to make personal attacks against jeff.

If jeff was a politician,I would say if he has the balls to come on here he is going to get the kind of treatment worthy of his conduct as a public servant.

1:42 you need some sleep.


7:23 AM  

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