City staff recommends denial of Field House bar's alcohol license renewal

BY KRISTEN EAST | JULY 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa City officials have recommended that the Iowa City City Council deny a liquor-license request from owners of the Field House.

Owners Rafer Mateer, David Carey, and Joann Bear applied for a one-year liquor license renewal, according to city documents. They applied in January of this year for a 12-month license.

Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine wrote in a city memo that he does not believe Mateer is a “person of good moral character” under Iowa law, and he recommends that the City Council deny the license application.

Hargadine referenced an incident on May 18, 2012, in which a patron was removed from the Field House bar by staff, including Mateer, with the bar staff proceeding to assault the patron, leaving the victim with fractures and lacerations to the face, according to city documents.

Warrants were issued for Mateer and two codefendants — Philip Czechowicz, a Field House employee, and Nicholas Miller, a manager at DC’s — on June 27, 2012. Mateer was arrested that day, and his case is pending. Charges against Miller have been dropped.

City officials met with Mateer and Bear in January to resolve Mateer’s pending charges. The Field House owners then agreed to withdraw their application for a 12-month license and refile for a six-month license.

Under Iowa Code, it is illegal for a business’ employees to “knowingly permit or engage in any criminal activity on the premises covered by the license or permit.”

Iowa City police recommend that the City Council deny the renewal of the bar owners’ application because their response to the bar patron’s behavior was “inappropriate” and an “absolutely an unacceptable bar response.”

City councilors will consider the license renewal at their meeting on July 23.

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