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Summit liquor license in trouble, Jake's set to close

BY ALICIA KRAMME | DECEMBER 03, 2010 7:20 AM

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One of Mike Porter's downtown bars could lose its liquor license next week and another is set to close after this weekend.

Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine has recommended that the Iowa City City Council deny the renewal of the Summit's liquor license at its next meeting on Nov. 7, according to city documents. Hargadine cited Porter's reported financial troubles as the reason for denial.

Porter is facing two separate lawsuits from Southgate Construction LLC and Corridor State Bank for failing to make payments on several loans totaling more than $400,000. Porter also defaulted on a loan from the city that he acquired to put sprinklers in Jakes, 18-20 S. Clinton St., according to Hargadine's memo.

Since May, Porter has filed bankruptcy for Vito's and Sauce, his downtown liquor store.

Hargadine's memo includes a litany of Porter's legal and financial woes, citing four previous incidents involving serving alcohol to minors and money owed to both Iowa City and the IRS.

"It is clear there is a failure by Mr. Porter and a number of his businesses to meet the criteria for a person of good moral character with respect to demonstrating financial responsibility and financial viability," Hargadine said.

Under Iowa law, bar owners must remain in "good moral standing" to keep their licenses.

Councilor Mike Wright said he fully supports Hargadine's recommendation.

"His finances have been a mess, and they have been since way before the 21-ordinance," Wright said.

Porter could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Next week's decision is the latest in a string of battles between Porter and the city.

Councilors already denied renewing Summit's license in November 2009November 2009, citing the bar's high number of PAULAs. But that decision was overturned by a state administrative law judge, who ruled the city's PAULA-per-police visit standard was inconsistent with the state's requirements.

Porter sued the city over the ratio. He filed another lawsuit against Iowa City in late July after councilors failed to exempt the Summit, 10 10 S. Clinton St., from the 21-ordinance.

Councilors also denied Sauce a license in September.

Regardless of councilors' decision on Summit, another one of Porter's bars will close after this weekend.

Tom Lenoch, manager of One-Eyed Jakes, said the two-story venue will shut down by early next week due to side effects from the 21-ordinance.

"Saturday's our last big party," he said. "But on Monday, our doors will be closed."


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