This blog has long chronicled the special thirst of university students in Wisconsin, America’s #2 drunkest state. The University of Wisconsin Stout is an alcoholic standout even by Wisconsin standards, and, in an effort to reduce the carnage, the school has attempted to shut down some particularly grotesque local bars.
UW-Stout seems to have started with the hilariously named Rehab Bar, featuring an all-day Intervention Fest, and routinely offering all the booze in the house for a few bucks. Pretty much everyone in there seems to be drinking illegally, etc. etc.
The understandably pissed off owner, faced with a chancellor and a city council determined to put him out of business, agreed to be shuttered on the condition that his liquor license be transferred to his buddy Elizabeth Hart, another bar owner.
So the council looked into Hart’s business practices, and it turns out… Well, it turns out that a lot of bars are pretty disreputable joints…
Based on [a] five-page background report … Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson recommended that the council deny [Hart’s] application, a recommendation that was echoed by UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer.
In a memo, Meyer expressed his concerns about the proposed transfer to an Eau Claire group he said is “associated with establishments that target college students with drink specials [and] would perpetuate the current high-risk drinking culture that exists at the Rehab.”
Although Hart had only one traffic contact on her record, her husband, Jared (Jed) Hart — who has also been known by more than two dozen other names — was charged and federally convicted in 2014 of tax fraud that took place in from 2008 to 2011 in regard to The Pickle [one of the Harts’ bars] of Eau Claire.
Eau Claire police provided a list of complaints associated with The Pickle and the Pioneer, most of them reported or witnessed by Jed Hart. Included in the violations were battery, drugs, disorderly conduct, counterfeit money, theft, check person, death, and parking issues.
Janessa Stromberger, assistant city attorney for Eau Claire, told [the investigator] that in the past few years since Jared Hart was released from prison, “his establishments had been more cooperative and easier to deal with.”
He’s a real pussycat now! Nothing like time in the federal pen to turn you all soft and nice… Real good role model for the kiddies, too… I ain’t goin’ back there and I don’t want to see you get in no trouble either…
Despite the many advantages of turning Rehab over to the Harts, the council rejected their application.