Steamboat Springs businessman Kevin Nerney stands outside Jade Summit and its upstairs bar, the Pirates Pub, which he runs with his wife, Kathy Nerney.  The city has prohibited Kevin Nerney from entering the establishment during business hours.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs businessman Kevin Nerney stands outside Jade Summit and its upstairs bar, the Pirates Pub, which he runs with his wife, Kathy Nerney. The city has prohibited Kevin Nerney from entering the establishment during business hours.

Nerneys face uphill battle

Colorado gives local licensing authorities great latitude


— "I'll see you in court," were some of the last words Kathy Nerney said to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Feb. 19, but the embroiled restaurant and bar owner may face an uphill legal battle should she make good on the promise.

Nerney's comment was made in response to a condition that the City Council, acting as the city's Liquor License Authority, placed on the approval of her liquor license for the Jade Summit restaurant and its upstairs bar, Pirate's Pub. The condition states that Kathy Nerney's husband, Kevin Nerney, who is the original business owner and former license holder at the Ski Time Square establishment, not be allowed on the premises during business hours.

The Nerneys consider the condition outrageous, but the broad latitude given to local licensing authorities by the state may make it a hard one to overturn. City Clerk Julie Jordan said Thursday that the city has not received notice of the Nerneys taking new legal action against the city. A judicial review of the city's revocation of Kevin Nerney's liquor license is pending.

Assistant City Attorney Dan Foote said he would be comfortable defending the condition of approval, citing a state statute that says a liquor license shall not be issued to "any person employing, assisted by, or financed in whole or in part by any other person who is not of good character and reputation."

"The condition was introduced to satisfy that requirement," Foote said. "In my opinion, yes, I think it's a reasonable stipulation."

The previous City Council revoked Kevin Nerney's liquor license Nov. 8 in response to allegations that he made unlawful sexual contact with a patron at his bar in February 2007. He was cleared of the charges in criminal court in August 2007, but the City Council held its own hearings and decided Nerney violated state liquor codes.

State liquor officials said Thursday that the city's condition on Kathy Nerney's license is not only permissible, but also somewhat common.

"I've seen it many times throughout the years," said Matt Cook, a senior director of enforcement with the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Department of Revenue spokesman Mark Couch said Division of Liquor/Tobacco Enforcement Director Laura Harris wishes more local licensing authorities would be as assertive in imposing such stipulations.

"When there are trouble-type situations, that happens occasionally," said Couch, referring specifically to the spouse of a license holder being banned from the licensed premises. "It's about a dozen times a year that this happens throughout the state."

Last week, Kevin Nerney began protesting the council's most recent action by setting up camp outside the restaurant's front door, vowing to remain there during business hours, seven days a week, until the council rescinds its decision to prohibit him from entering the business. Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said Nerney's protest is permissible.

"Unless we receive a specific complaint from a property owner, then he's all right," Rae said.

Kevin Nerney said, "I'm going to be here for the duration," from his makeshift camp last week, but he could not be found at the site Wednesday afternoon or late Thursday morning; his tent was stashed near the Jade Summit's front door. Reached by phone Thursday, Kathy Nerney said the couple did not wish to comment.


digit1964 9 years, 2 months ago

this nerney guy is classic!! This is some of the funniest stuff!! you could make a sit com out of this guy!! " Iam here for the duration"!! But then he was no where to be found...

Classic comedy..!


mtroach 9 years, 2 months ago

I wonder what the plans for the Jade are during the redevelopment of ski time square. I don't know where he could relocate to during the teardown/rebuild and still remain open. Anyone know of a good commerrcial space with adajacent camping?


Mem Tierce 9 years, 2 months ago

He was out skiing! I saw him and some of his fellow pirates on the mountian.


STEMBOATwannabe 9 years, 2 months ago

The town has it's problems Devil, but it is stilll a beautiful nice destination. The Skiing is great. The ambiance found here is totally unique. Hope after you try a different destination, you come back to Steamboat.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 2 months ago

Stemboatwannabe- Are you absolutely sure? Rumor has it that the Mountain Theater got an extension and Ski Time might be done in stages. That may have changed, but that's what I was hearing on the Theater front a couple months back.


STEMBOATwannabe 9 years, 2 months ago

No, I'm not absolutely sure.

If it is done in stages it will make it more miserable for a longer period of time.


steamboatdevil 9 years, 2 months ago

I am from out of town and taking a party of eight to the JS tonight. I come to Steamboat every year and Kevin was a very welcome addition. He welcomed us with open arms. It will be sad to eat there and not spend time talking to him.

I have a totally different opinion of Steamboat after all of this mess. I am sure the some of the locals will be happy but we are moving our trip to another ski area next year.

Apparently there is no due process in Steamboat.


sickofitall 9 years, 2 months ago

Fact of the matter is, City Council is holding him responsible for charges, but he was he was acquitted. How does this make any sense? Does the City Council have more authority than a judge?


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 2 months ago

Devil- don't pay attention to knowitall. As you can tell, it knows nothing whatsoever. The JS is a great place, as you have already seemed to experience.


misterkindbuds 9 years, 2 months ago

If his name was Laquanda Washington and he was a mad, black woman, the council would never have the nards to shut him down.

There would be a discrimination lawsuit to beat the band.

This is discrimination and I encourage the Nerney's to follow through all the way to the end of the plank.



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