Nerney camps outside pub
Former liquor license holder working outside bar he can't enter
February 22, 2008
Steamboat Springs — There’s a new doorman at the Jade Summit restaurant and its upstairs bar, Pirate’s Pub.
Kevin Nerney, original business owner and former liquor license holder at the Ski Time Square establishment, set up camp outside the restaurant’s front door Thursday – complete with a tent, space heater and laptop – and said he plans to work there, seven days a week, until the Steamboat Springs City Council rescinds its decision to prohibit him from entering the business.
“This is my new office,” said Nerney, who sat on a chair alongside a coffee pot, mug and cell phone on a small table next to a bucket for trash.
The previous City Council, acting as the city’s Liquor License Authority, revoked Nerney’s liquor license for the business 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.
The council’s Tuesday decision to grant a liquor license to Nerney’s wife, Kathy Nerney, came with the condition that Kevin Nerney not be allowed on the premises during business hours.
The Jade Summit and Pirate’s Pub is open from 11 a.m. to well past midnight, Kevin Nerney said. He is using nearby restaurants for bathroom breaks and is going home when the business is closed, rather than camping out overnight.
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He said he plans to continue working outside the Jade Summit’s front door “for the duration,” until the condition is changed. The Nerneys are consulting with lawyers in Denver about a lawsuit or court challenge to the city’s decision.
City Clerk Julie Jordan said the condition was “a collaborative staff idea” between her office, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae and the city’s legal counsel.
“It’s found in state statutes that local liquor license authorities can place conditions of approval such as this on licenses,” Jordan said Thursday. “We’ve verified it with the state of Colorado’s liquor enforcement division.”
The Division of Liquor/Tobacco Enforcement is part of the state’s Department of Revenue. Section 12-47-601 of Part 6 of the Colorado Liquor Code references conditions of approval. The section states that any local licensing authority can issue penalties for violations of “any of the terms, conditions, or provisions of the license or permit issued by such authority.”
Rae said the matter simply comes down to enforcing compliance with liquor laws.
“Being that Kathy’s liquor license is no more than an arm’s length extension of (Kevin Nerney’s) liquor license : we felt it was necessary to have that stipulation that he not be allowed on the premises of the Pirate’s Pub,” Rae said. “We felt that was a very reasonable and justified stipulation.”
Kathy Nerney said Thursday that despite the less than two months remaining in the ski season and the looming demolition of Ski Time Square, she has no plans to close the Jade Summit or Pirate’s Pub.
On a sunny afternoon Thursday, Nerney spoke with passersby, including one man carrying a snowboard and a popped can of Coors Light.
“Hey, watch out for the open container laws around here,” Nerney called. “Seriously.”
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