The Mandan City Commission denied a liquor license for the owner of a popular bar following concerns from the Mandan Police Department.
The commissioners in a 3-2 vote on June 25 denied Silver Dollar bar owner Wade Felton a Class A liquor license starting Thursday. Dennis Rohr, Joseph Camisa Jr. and Mike Braun voted to deny the license, while Amber Larson and Mayor Tim Helbling voted to approve it. The current liquor license expired June 30.
Several commissioners had concerns with what police said were issues of "noncooperation" at the bar by employees.
Camisa said that some alleged violations of city code listed in a memo from the police department were "pretty problematic." Deputy Police Chief Lori Flaten declined to release a document Monday that lists issues the police had with the bar, citing an active case.
Flaten said there would be no change in management if Felton was issued the license. Felton operates the bar at 200 E. Main St., but the current license is held by someone else, which is not allowed under city ordinance.
"If you give Mr. Felton a liquor license, because he's been actually running it for the last two years, we feel that those problems would persist," Flaten said.
Other members considered balancing the police department's recommendation and keeping the long-time Mandan establishment open.
"I'm not keen on granting the license on one hand, but on the other it's a long-established business in Mandan, and if Mr. Felton is going to put up $60,000 for a new license, we have the right to revoke that license if there's any other infractions," Helbling said. "I don't know where the city of Mandan would come out on the losing end of this by granting this license."
Felton told the commission that the bar staff tries to cooperate the best it can with the city and police.
He previously applied for a liquor license for the bar, which was denied by the commission at its June 15 meeting. According to city officials, the building's property taxes were delinquent at the time of the application. City Administrator Jim Neubauer also told the commissioners that Felton did not pay the application fee when the application was submitted.
Felton told the commission that he had the funds in a different account and he did not want to transfer the money before he knew the application would be approved. He submitted a new application with a cashier's check for the fee, which is what was reviewed on June 25. The Morton County property tax website shows a property tax payment was made earlier this month.
The bar owner told the Tribune he was "hoping for the best and preparing for the worst" regarding the commission's decision. He said one of the incidents that the police document referred to was a stabbing at a street dance last summer. That incident was out of the bar owners' control and security had been hired for the event, Felton said.
A man was stabbed on July 3 at the street dance in an incident allegedly tied to motorcycle gangs.
Silver Dollar's future is unclear. Felton said he will appeal the commission's decision regarding the license. He will find another use for the building if he cannot obtain one.
"I think we tried our best the last 2½ years, and they're losing an icon to the city of Mandan," he said.
Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.