Local Government

Marengo bar must surrender liquor license by end of April after violations

Harley D’z being shut down after reports of illegal drug use, liquor license violations

MARENGO – After Harley D’z bar in Marengo violated the terms of its liquor license several times in the past few years, the business will have to surrender its license when it expires on April 30, according to city documents.

Although the liquor commissioner, Marengo Mayor Don Lockhart, originally ordered the business to have penalties including a 10-day license suspension and restricted hours, a settlement agreement was reached in October 2015 when Harley D’z offered to instead not renew its license, Marengo City Attorney Carlos Arevalo said.

The agreement also said Harley D’z was responsible for paying about $9,000 in prosecution costs for the case by Feb. 15, which it failed to do, documents show.

This prompted an amendment to the agreement, finalized Monday, to set up a payment plan that ensures payments are made to the city through Harley D’z lawyer at Cowlin, Naughton and Curran, and establishes a lien on the property, Arevalo said.

“We’re eliminating Harley D’z and their owners as a middle man because our concern is they won’t pay it then,” Arevalo said.

The incidents that led to Lockhart’s initial penalties came from reports of illegal drug use and other liquor license violations at the establishment, 100 S. State St., Marengo, which were detailed in a complaint by Marengo Police Chief Joseph Hallman and Lockhart’s initial order.

In one January 2015 incident, a Marengo police officer conducted a bar check after receiving a tip of drug activity in the basement. According to the complaint, the officer found drug paraphernalia and a wallet with a package of cocaine, and arrested one man for possession of a controlled substance.

The report also said the business advertised free alcohol through its Facebook page and manager’s personal page, allowed someone to leave with an open Budweiser beer and was the scene of a bar fight where patrons were injured.

James Hess, the lawyer representing Harley D’z in this case, said the owners plan to lease the property to a new tenant after their license expires.

The potential new tenant has expressed a desire to apply for a liquor license, Hess said.

Arevalo said if Harley D’z leased the building, the lessee could apply for a liquor license for the establishment, as long as the lessee is not associated with Harley D’z.

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