Several incidents at the Terra Restaurant and Bar led to a non-renewal of the Class B Tavern and Public Entertainment Premises licenses by the Milwaukee Common. In another measure, the Common Council voted 10 to 4 and 1 excused vote to deny a Food Truck ban ordinance on most of the 11th and parts of the 13th Aldermanic Districts.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
April 21, 2015
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council voted on a 14-1 excused vote to approved the Common Council Licensing Committee recommendation not to approve the Class B Tavern and Public Entertainment Premises licenses to Jenny Contreras, 35, and Juan Contreras, owners of the Terra Restaurant and Bar at 600 S. 6th Street. In an appeal for reconsideration, Attorney Douglas J. Phebus representing the Contreras’s said, that Jenny was new at managing the bar and had now made efforts to change how she managed the bar. Some of the members of the Common Council disagreed and claimed that the Contreras’s lack of taking responsibility and for Juan not even making an effort to help an 18-year-old woman who was knocked out unconsciously by her boyfriend, a visiting nephew from Texas related to Juan and not cooperating with an officer’s request to release a surveillance video recording of the assault inside the bar resulted in denial of their liquor license.
On April 6, the Milwaukee Common Council Licensing Committee members on a vote of 4-1 denied renewal of the Class B Tavern and Public Entertainment Premises licenses to Jenny and Juan Contreras. The Licenses Committee cited bad management skills of the business for denying the Contreras to continue to operate the business. Alderman José G. Pérez opposed granting the renewal of their Class B Tavern license citing several incidents.
Attorney Victor Arellano who represented the Contreras’s during the Licensing Committee hearing had claimed that “Ald. Pérez went to the owner of the place and mentioned he had a couple of buyers and so, now we know why he is not in support of Jenny Contreras” getting her license renewed. The 600 S. 6th Street property is owned by Pedro and Gloria Castillo, who owe $13,215 in taxes for 2014 and the property where Terra Restaurant is located is assessed at $429K. Arellano alleged Ald. Pérez had an interest for the Contreras not to get their liquor license renewed. Ald. Pérez who was present did not dispute Arellano’s allegation.
According to police reports, police were called to the Terra Restaurant on July 17, 2014 around 11:20 a.m. after someone (a service provider) called to report a young female unconscious in front of the bar. Police say, that Juan Contreras was seen pulling on the female’s arm in a bar video. It was later determined when police viewed a surveillance video from inside the bar, that Juan, a male cousin of his from Texas and an 18-year-old girlfriend of the cousin, including an unidentified person had been drinking for hours and serving drinks after 3:00 a.m. The video caught the girlfriend hit Juan’s cousin and in returned, the boyfriend knocked her out for three minutes.
The video was viewed at the time by a Milwaukee Police Officer Michael Anderson and Jenny Contreras. Police arrested Juan Contreras for not rendering aid to the girl and his cousin for assaulting his girlfriend, including the girl for underage drinking and fighting. A court hearing on that underage drinking case is scheduled for April 23.
Juan was accused of allowing a minor and his cousin at the bar after hours and serving drinks. The Contreras refused to release the bar video to police and contacted Arellano who advised them not to release the video to police unless they had a warrant. A Licensing Committee member said, that it is the first time that they have heard a liquor license holder has ever refused to cooperate with police by not releasing the video. Police obtained a warrant to confiscate the video, but it was erased after seven days, according to the video system.
The second incident happened on February 3, 2015, when a Milwaukee police sergeant noticed a crowd at the Terra Restaurant and Bar after the bar closed at 2:00 a.m. The Contreras were cited in that incident as well for having over 14 people at the bar and several still drinking, according to police. The Terra Restaurant and Bar bartender admitted to police that they usually closed at 2:20 a.m. when the law requires the bar to close at 2:00 a.m.
The Committee members were not to happy that Juan Contreras didn’t even called 911 after his cousin’s girlfriend was criminally assaulted and left in the floor. Juan didn’t attend the hearing, but his wife said that Juan had a kidney transplant about a year ago and wasn’t feeling to well to be at the hearing. Alderman T. Anthony Zeilinski, Chairman of the Licensing Committee couldn’t understand how Juan had a kidney transplant and was drinking, but couldn’t attend the hearing to renew a liquor license. The rest of the Committee members determined that the Contreras’s badly managed the business, which indicated that it wasn’t anyone’s business how they ran the business after hours, according to the hearing.
Jenny Contreras told the Committee members that she did know that she couldn’t have people or family at the bar drinking after the bar closed. All business bar or restaurant owners who are approved to have a Class B Tavern license in the City of Milwaukee know the restrictions and hours they can legally operate and serve liquor.
Jenny and Juan Contreras to beat the City of Milwaukee liquor licensing system they separated the bar from the restaurant last year by placing a door between them and got a Class-B Tavern and Public Entertainment Premises licenses for the bar now called Pachangas Bar and Grill. The Contreras continue to operate Pachangas, despite being singled out by the Licensing Committee for mismanagement of the same bar under Terra Restaurant and Bar and denied a liquor license for it on April 6.
Jenny and Juan Contreras are the owners of MC Multiservicios and Tax Service located at the 1000 block of S. César E. Chávez Drive.
In March 2013, Attorney Victor Arellano, 69, was reprimanded by the Office of Lawyers Regulation for making false statements. He was disciplined by the State Supreme Court judge for two counts, misrepresenting information (lying) to investigators and for soliciting to represent one of the complainants when she didn’t request representation. Arellano had to pay $10,240.13, but kept his license to practice law.
On February 28, 2011, the OLR filed a 14 count misconduct case seeking to revoke Arellano’s law license. Arellano was accused by four women, including Marilyn Figueroa who testified that in 2000 he solicited to represent her and then staring up a sexual relationship in violation of attorney’s rules of conduct. He also was accused of starting sexual relationships with three other women while representing them in various cases.
The Licensing Committee minutes state, that “Officer Michael Anderson – He investigated the July 18th incident. A service worker observed a woman unconscious on the floor with the applicant’s husband, Mr. Contreras, sweeping up glass. The worker then called 911. After police arrived, the applicant then arrived on premises and gave them access to the security camera footage. He observed four individuals on premise drinking. When he arrived, Mr. Contreras was on premise with intoxicated individuals. There was broken glass and spilled items on the floor. All individuals were uncooperative. The applicant arrived on premise and offered access to security cameras. The video showed that Mr. Contreras allowed patrons in after bar close time. The video also showed patrons drinking after 3 AM. The woman who was assaulted and knocked out was 18 years old.
Ald. Perez present at the table. He has concerns with the application because of drinking after hours, minors in the establishment, an assault occurring, and the lack of action taken after the assault. He is also concerned that both police incidents occurred within the first year of operation.”