A comparison of police calls in the last three years to two bars across the street from each other shows that Foxy's Bar had nearly three times as many interactions with officers than Schooner Pub.
From 2009 until Foxy's closed in September, police records show 120 calls to the bar, with 54 of those calls being disorderly conduct, battery or fight/altercation.
Schooner Pub had a total of 44 calls from 2009 through November, with only 10 relating to disorderly conduct, battery or fight/altercation.
The history of police presence has further complicated efforts of hopeful business owner Troy Koput and manager Christian Zaja, who have been trying to launch Deville's Lounge in the space.
- Related: New Start at Former Foxy’s Location Encounters Snags
Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss and City Administrator Mark Grams have both recommended the denial of the retail alcohol beverage license needed to operate the business. Hingiss cited incidents in Zaja's background — including an OWI offense in 2006 and an after-hours incident in April another bar, The Spot — as well as a long list of calls to Foxy's over its years of operation in his report recommending the denial of a liquor license.
A sample of police calls to Foxy’s highlighted in Hingiss' report included the following from 2012:
- Bar staff called police to report that a man they had kicked out for being unruly had come back. The man was cited for disorderly conduct.
- People leaving the bar were warned for being noisy. One man was cited after police had to warn him a second time.
- Officers on patrol heard a possible fight in progress and witnessed a large number of people leaving. Investigation led to citations being issued for underage drinking and underage people on the premises. One person was arrested for an outstanding warrant.
- Bar staff reported a patron with a fake identification. Two citations were issued for underage alcohol consumption and misrepresentation of age by an underage person.
- A noise complaint was called in. The police officer watched the tavern for 30 minutes and observed no citable violations although there was an increase in noise level due to the volume of customers. Bar security staff were warned to monitor their guests better.
Hingiss also said he would like to see changes to the alcohol license ordinance to make it tougher to earn a license.
- Related: Problems With Former Foxy's Location Revival Sparks Talk of Changes to System
Even though the number of calls to Foxy's nearly triples that of its neighbor, the question remains whether this information should even be considered when discussing the possibility of letting in the new business owners.
Zaja had worked at Foxy's, but said his position with the company gave him no say in how things would run — adding that he understands the problems the former bar had and would work to create a better atmosphere at Deville's.
"I was never any type of manager or had anything to do with any decision making at the former Foxys," Zaja wrote in the comment section of a Patch article. "I was merely an employee."
Plus, former Foxy's owner Andy Lanza claimed to have a good relationship with the city's police officers, seen with his arm around an officer on the final night of the bar being open. Zaja concurred that the bar's relationship with the department had "always been a working relationship."
The Common Council will have a final vote Dec. 18 considering whether to approve the license for the business; the issue will be discussed in closed session according to Wisconsin law, unless Koput requests an open session hearing before the meeting.
Another bump in the road for business owners is a number of code violations revealed during a building inspection of the former Foxy's location, meaning a Change of Occupancy permit is denied unless the business owners take the time to correct each issue.
Even if the council decides to approve the liquor license, the code violations will need to be fixed so that an occupancy permit can be approved before a license is granted, Grams said.
— Reporter Amy Gilgenbach contributed to this report.