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Embattled Cedarburg restaurant August Weber Haus loses liquor license

CEDARBURG (CBS58) -- An embattled Cedarburg restaurant shut down by the Cedarburg Common Council late Tuesday night.

The council unanimously voted to revoke August Weber Haus’ liquor license. This decision came after months of controversy over the business practices at the restaurant.

Tuesday night’s hearing lasted three hours, then the council deliberated in closed session for an hour. During the hearing the common council acted essentially as a jury and heard testimony from the police chief, one of the owners of August Weber Haus and citizens.

“It was a really brave decision by the council,” said Antonio Ramirez, a member of the Committee for a Safe Cedarburg.

The Committee for a Safe Cedarburg was created in response to issues at August Weber Haus.

Ramirez filed a complaint with the city of Cedarburg in February, which triggered a police investigation into whether or not August Weber Haus is complying with the liquor license ordinance. Police Chief Thomas Frank concluded the restaurant was not in compliance and filed the complaint that led to the revocation of the license.

Tim Algiers, an attorney for Steve and Diane Banas who own the restaurant, says all the ordinance requires is for them to open 4 hours at a time, 15 days a month.

“There's no evidence that they were not open every time they said they were open,” Algiers said.

But Cedarburg City Attorney Michael Herbrand says it's not that simple.

“It [the ordinance] requires that you actually legitimately be open to the public for businesses,” Herbrand said.

August Weber Haus does not have set hours and opens on various days, at various times, with no advance notice.

People testified when they went inside, the restaurant wasn't serving and they were intimated by the owners.

“In two cases their pictures were taken, photos for their vehicle, their license plate,” Herbrand said.

CBS 58 went undercover inside August Weber Haus earlier this year and though they advertised they served food that wasn’t the case.

You can read that story here.

Herbrand called the business a “sham,” saying the owners only want a liquor license to make money at festivals.

“It was done solely for the purpose of trying to demonstrate compliance with the ordinance so the August Weber Haus could sit on a license,” Herbrand said.

Ramirez says a lot of people are relieved by the decision.

“This is really great,” Ramirez said. “This has been a yearlong campaign.”

But the Banas' aren't ready to give up.

“My clients are disappointed but not surprised,” Algiers said.

Algiers says they will appeal the council's decision in court.

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