Bushy's Pub and Grill shuts down for two weeks

Move part of agreement after patron allegedly hurt by former bouncers

Sept. 26, 2009

Muskego — Bushy's Pub and Grill has agreed to give up its liquor license for two weeks under an agreement with the city stemming from a January incident in which two bouncers are accused of beating up a patron.

The bar, W14831 Janesville Road, voluntarily closed starting Sunday to settle a complaint that the city filed against the establishment under the state's prohibition against running a disorderly or improper house.

But that action, which was accepted by the Common Council last week, doesn't mean the end of Bushy's legal troubles.

The two bouncers face an Oct. 16 hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court on felony battery charges in connection with the Jan. 17 incident. The patron, a 42-year-old Waukesha man, suffered a broken rib, a mild concussion and minor injuries, according to the city's complaint against the business.

Robert Kanack and Kevin Siegesmund each could face up to 3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine, if convicted.

In addition, the victim in the case has filed a civil lawsuit against both men and Bushy's owners.

The Waukesha County District Attorney's Office also charged Bushy's co-owner Lynn Kurer with misdemeanor obstructing a police officer. That charge was dismissed.

The January incident was not the only one cited in the Muskego Police Department's complaint against the pub.

It also notes a March 9, 2008, incident in which patrons got into a fight. The district attorney's office charged both patrons with criminal battery.

In addition, several people fought in the Bushy's parking lot on May 17, 2008, according to the complaint. One was cited for underage drinking.

Between 2007 and April 29, 2009, police received 18 reports of assaults, fights and unruly patrons at the establishment, the complaint says.

Training to be provided

Attorneys for Bushy's and the Police Department have negotiated for months to agree on the two-week suspension of bar activities. In addition to that, Bushy's owners agreed to provide employee training and install cameras that will keep a video record of events there.

The restaurant portion of the business could have remained open, but owners decided to close entirely until 5 p.m. Oct. 11.

The city has no desire to punish Bushy's, Mayor John Johnson said. Corrective steps are being taken, and he predicted things will improve. He said he has received dozens of letters supporting Bushy's.

Kurer said she feels Bushy's has had an excellent record throughout the 26 years she has owned it.

She also said the city was premature in pressing the complaint because the bouncers, who no longer work for the business, have not gone to court yet.

But Capt. John LaTour, who brought the complaint on behalf of the Police Department, said the severity of the injuries calls for city action, regardless of the court outcome for the bouncers.

LaTour said he was glad Bushy's plans to provide training by an off-duty or retired police officer who will teach how to control a rowdy patron with minimum force.

Officials will be watching

Alderman Kert Harenda, in whose district the bar/restaurant is located, said, "This will send a message that things have to change.

"If they don't change, we'll meet with her again and the council won't be as light," he said.

He voted to defer acceptance of the plea bargain because he wanted to see exactly what the pub has accomplished over the months since the incident and what it still needs to do.

But he acknowledged that Bushy's has been a good corporate citizen, participating in and being a sponsor in citywide events. He put the latest troubles down to growing pains. Bushy's was expanded several years ago, and Harenda speculated that certain safeguards and procedures may have been dropped in the process.

Kurer said the situation is damaging her reputation.

"I'm a grandma, I've got kids and I've done so much community service. I'm not a bad person," she said.


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