Judge denies Nerney's injunction request

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— After a short-lived victory, Kevin Nerney lost the latest battle in the war for his liquor license Thursday.

In a proceeding at the Routt County Justice Center, Judge Mary Hoak of Hot Sulphur Springs ruled that Nerney will not be allowed to serve alcohol while she reviews the city of Steamboat Springs' revocation of his license. Nerney had been granted a temporary stay of that revocation for 10 days prior to Thursday's hearing.

Hoak's ruling has done little to discourage Nerney, owner of the Jade Summit restaurant and its upstairs bar, Pirate's Pub, in Ski Time Square.

"I'm not going away," Nerney said Friday. "We're going to pursue this to the 'nth degree of the law."

Nerney and his wife, Kathy, plan to hold their annual New Year's Eve celebration at the pub - with a DJ, but minus booze - and encouraged people to come by for a meal anytime.

"Jade Summit is still open and thriving and welcoming people to a family-friendly atmosphere as it always has," Kathy Nerney said.

City officials revoked Kevin Nerney's liquor license Nov. 8, a decision Nerney has asked the courts to review. Hoak is hearing the case because Routt County Judge Michael O'Hara recused himself.

Nerney requested a review of the city's decision under Rule 106, which allows appeals of quasi-judicial actions of government. Tom Lyons of the Denver firm Hall & Evans represented the city in Thursday's hearing. Lyons said the path Nerney is taking in the courts is similar to an appeal, but could not result in an outright reversal of the revocation - rather, it could result in a determination of whether the city acted properly.

"They wouldn't reverse," Lyons said. "They would send it back with instructions on how to do it correctly."

Steep hill

City Attorney Tony Lettunich said he was not surprised by Thursday's outcome because the criteria for such injunctions constitute "a pretty steep hill to climb." A brief filed by the city noted that allowing Nerney to serve alcohol while the revocation is reviewed would constitute "judicial interference" of action taken by another branch of government - meaning the Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the city's Liquor License Authority - and should not be done unless the action taken was "clearly erroneous."

There are six criteria a plaintiff must meet to receive an injunction, which is what Nerney sought. Among the criteria is a demonstrated likelihood of ultimately winning the case.

"Obviously the court made a very reasonable decision based on the criteria they're supposed to use," Lyons said.

Nerney's attorney, Kris Hammond, did not return messages seeking comment Friday.

The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 3-2, on Nov. 8 to revoke Nerney's liquor license, in response to allegations that Nerney made unlawful sexual contact earlier this year with a patron at his bar. Nerney was found not guilty of the charges in criminal court, but the council, acting as the city's Liquor License Authority, moved forward with its own hearings and voted unanimously - using a less rigorous standard of proof - that Nerney violated state liquor codes.

The split vote was the result of disagreement about the severity of Nerney's punishment.

Costly case

Nerney said Friday that the revocation has reduced business "to the tune of $50,000 so far and counting." An affidavit he filed in court claims that in December 2006, he sold $32,700 in food and $34,100 in alcohol. The affidavit says Nerney's overhead costs are $45,000.

"There is simply no way to meet the Jade Summit's overhead without the sale of alcohol," Nerney wrote. "The city's revocation of my liquor license will cause immediate and irreparable economic harm which I cannot recoup or otherwise mitigate."

The city, however, argued that monetary losses are not "irreparable." City briefs point out other businesses that lack a liquor license and say that Nerney should make business modifications to mitigate the loss.

"The privilege of selling alcohol to tourists is not a permanent entitlement," a brief on behalf of the city states.

While economic concerns played a large role in Nerney's court arguments, he said Friday that his war with the city is now one of principle.

"It's no longer about the money because the ski season will never be long enough to recoup that," said Nerney, whose business, along with the rest of Ski Time Square, will be torn down by developers at the end of this ski season.

Nerney is pursuing avenues outside the courts as well, and his wife is attempting to secure a liquor license of her own. Nerney said his efforts are being frustrated by the city at every turn.

"We will do whatever the city requires to reopen 1890 Ski Time Square," Nerney said. "If they want 10 pieces of paper, I'll give them 20. If they want 500, I'll give them 1,000. They're trying to stop me, and I'm going to pursue it until I get what I want."

Nerney could have avoided the city's hearings in August, when the city offered him a 15-day suspension, with 10 days held in abeyance. Had he taken that offer, his liquor license would have been suspended for a total of nine days, including four days held in abeyance from a 2006 violation.

Hoak will continue reviewing the city's revocation of Nerney's liquor license, with information from both sides, and likely will make a decision in a matter of weeks. No other court proceeding is needed.

Comments

80488mom 6 years, 11 months ago

Kevin Nerney was found innocent. That should be the end of the story.

Kevin is a retired NY firefighter. He spent his career as a public servant serving his community and risking his life. We are talking New York City folks not Mayberry. After 911 he stopped everything he was doing and returned to help with the aftermath at ground zero, once again putting himself in harm's way. This speaks volumes for his character and the sacrifices this man was willing to make not only for his hometown but for his country. As the rest of us sat back and talked about the horrors he did something.

He is a wonderful father who has instilled outstanding core values in his children. I have heard his son has joined the Marines and his daughter is considering a similar career. It takes a very courageous and patriotic person in this day and age to make that commitment. To put country before self. Obviously, it is something he learned from his father. He's not sitting around in the safety of Routt County playing military games on a computer and cruising Lincoln Ave. He has stood up to serve this country and for that each of us should be grateful.

I have seen over and over again how this town kicks someone when they are down and I find this behavior deplorable and shameful. I refuse to be apart of this tar and feather mentality.

This family should be proud and stand tall for their true American spirit.

To the Nerney family I salute you and implore you not to lose faith in this community you have made your home. There are those of us who believe in you and respect the lives you have lead.

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id04sp 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, at least, it looks like hiring Kris Hammond isn't a slam dunk anymore. I guess the fact that he is a former law partner of Judge O'Hara was the reason for O'Hara's recusal from the case.

Or, maybe, O'Hara only recuses himself when he'd have to rule against Hammond's clients because of political pressure.

All the good things said about Nerney and his family are probably true. Unfortunately, anyone who has spent much time around cops and firefighters off duty also knows that womanizing goes with the territory. That's just how it goes for some of those guys, and sadly, the accusations against Nerney do fit the stereotype.

I would hope that Nerney gets to keep the license for the sake of his wife and family, and oh, by the way, that he also cleans up his act for the sake of his wife and family. That's what a real man would do.

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id04sp 6 years, 11 months ago

Granny,

You are correct. Being a cop doesn't mean you're a womanizer.

However, being a womanizer goes along with risk-taking occupations.

The alleged misconduct did not occur as part of this man's official duties as a policeman. We already know that earns you a plea bargain, and off you go, back to your pitiful little life. This occurred in an establishment where alcohol is served, and in quantities significantly greater than a sip from the Communion cup.

If the full truth was known, it would probably turn out that the city council is interested in the place going out of business so that the property can be redeveloped, and kickbacks can be had.

The facts are that Nerney was acquitted, and so the courts have found that the evidence against him was insufficient for a conviction. I think he'll win in the long run, and when he does, I hope he avoids sticking his face in anybody else's boobs in his bar. That seems fair. It's called "impulse control." Everybody should try it. It really helps to simpify your life when you wake up in the morning and remember what you did last night.

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dimwitiguess 6 years, 11 months ago

id said it well. The newly harolded heroes - police and firefighters - have the known reputations of womanizing and drinking and playing hard and cheating on their spouses. This little bit of foreplay just makes one wonder about the privileged status we've given the police and firefighters. Almost all have to clean up their acts.

Before you put these people on a pedastel, you should remind them to uphold their moral values and begin to lead an off-duty life that warrants their hero status.

I would support Kevin getting his license returned IF he cleaned up his act. His acts created a hardship for his wife and family. And they share in his shame although they need not nor should they. They are the real losers in this. Kevin, make your business a successful family-oriented business where liquor is just an after thought. Sadly Steamboat seems to make liquor a necessity for (pardon the pun) liquidity. Clean it up, Kevin. I still support you, but not the big city life antics and behavior of stereotypic cops and firefighters.

dimwitiguess

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id04sp 6 years, 11 months ago

Kielbasa,

English fails us in that we don't have a form of punctuation to indicate irony when there's room for misunderstanding.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 11 months ago

ID- While all this was happening, City Council already knew that Ski Time Square was scheduled for demolition & redevelopment, anyway. I don't think that was a motivating factor.

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Doug Marsh 6 years, 11 months ago

Kevin has to quit blaming City Council for his problems and start looking into the mirror. If he would have kept his head out of the woman's breasts, he would still have his license today. And who cares if he was a New York Fireman, what does that have to do with what he did.

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sickofitall 6 years, 11 months ago

What does a womens breasts have to do with his liquor license? He was found innocent and the council was bias because of the misconduct thing. They held their bias after he was found innocent as well. I say he gets treated like the rest of them. Or did he already have that opportunity?

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grannyrett 6 years, 11 months ago

Not all cops and firefighters are womanizers. Most of them that have families treasure them. You are painting a bunch of guys that help and protect us all with a pretty wide brush. Sure, there are some bad ones, but you shouldn't assume that just because someone is/was a cop or firefighter that they are crooked or womanizing.

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1234 6 years, 11 months ago

WOW! id you can really pull it out of your... (well you know) when you need or want to.

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RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

So Paddlefisher you think if a women is dressed in a particular manner then they are fair game for assult??

You MUST stay away from my family - you disgust me.

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RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

paddlefisher

Are you one of those "offenders" that must register in every city they go to???

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dave reynolds 6 years, 11 months ago

apperantly your a dad..if you catch your child doing something wrong and they change their story several times hey i bet you thinkthey are lying..this whole thing reaks of deception..what a way to get out of a DUI..ruin someones life.livelyhood and reputation..once again found NOT GUILTY in a court of law that should be it

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RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

You said what you said and I called you on it.

You have views towards women that is disturbing.

See Ya.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 11 months ago

look around..i respect women..some dress provoctively some don't..never hit a woman or abused one in anyway shape or form..wrong conclusion..just asking questions no one else did..if they weren't dressed provocitively then fine..but any attorney would question that....low cut t shirts,blouses opened one button to many..worked in a bar have seen it..but for you to accuse me of being a 'offender' is obserd and totally out of line..pardon the spelling..once again..NOT GUILTY..

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id04sp 6 years, 11 months ago

The fellows who were killed by a tiger earlier this week, after tormenting it with slingshots, are a perfect example of what happens when people provoke dumb beasts.

Women who dress to provoke men have to understand that, no matter how wrong the men are, there was a choice to dress more conservatively when in a public place.

Just to make sure you understand what I'm saying, the men are WRONG to touch the women or abuse them in any way because of the way the women look. It's going to happen anyway.

I should be able to walk around the streets of New York City with a $1000 bill pinned to my lapel and not be robbed, but we all know the reality of such an expectation. Wishful thinking.

It's really easier to just not be a victim than to go through the hassle of being one.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 11 months ago

wonder why i got removed..RoxyDad accuses me of being an "offender" I responded and also questioned the credability of the woman involved..pretty simple if you change your story several times ..well you figure it out..NOT GUILTY in a court of law he should be able to make a living and the bozos on the countsel should get over themselves..been here a long time lots of good stories about OTP,Tugboat but its all heresay

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RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

Paddle

Your statements against women were alarming in your removed post. Thats why they were removed. ( I did not request removal, someone else did)

Lets move on.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 11 months ago

I would like to sincerely apoligise to anyone whow I offended that was not my intent..i think anyone who hits women or abuses them should be locked up and the key be thrown away..Roxy I am also sorry for what i said to you too

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