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Police Calls to Foxy's Nearly Tripled Neighboring Schooner Pub

A comparison of police calls to Foxy's Bar and Schooner Pub over the last three years show the now-closed tavern had quite a few more interactions with officers.

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.

Greg December 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Shouldn't we consider the number of interactions with officers under prior ownership, prior to 2009, to determine if the problem lies with the building or the occupant? I have a hard time believing that the problems are connected strictly to the building, if they are the city council should require an exorcism prior to occupancy.
Greg Huegerich December 10, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Given that the council renewed Foxy's liquor license over the summer, I'd suggest that any complaints about police activity prior to summer of 2012 are 100% irrelevant. The council was clearly ok with the bar, its operator, and how things were run. Their actions in approving that license should prove to be much louder than their contradictory words that are slandering the new operation, with a new owner, theme, layout and business plan. It seems like an awful lot of reaching/scapegoating, primarily being done by elected officials. Not good public policy. Perhaps the Port Hotel can run a special on Red Herring this week?
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Hi Greg, You bring up a valid point, and Chief Hingiss' report does include documentation from Coyotes as well. This comparison was simply meant to pick as similar an operation as possible in Port's downtown using the same time period as it's sample.
thepatchsux December 11, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Lyssa, you're reports on the latest from "Foxys" new or fresh. It's repetitive garbage. You're contributing to lessening the potential for a new business. Congrats.
Mike December 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Chief Hingiss = The New Chief Rudolph?
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 02:09 PM
It's unfortunate you feel this way ... however had I pulled the reports from the police department and found that Schooner Pub's police calls tripled that of Foxys ... it'd be a different story, right? Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I obviously have no say in the matter, I'm just showing the elements that exist.
Greg Huegerich December 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Just to play devil's advocate .... No I don't think it would be a different story, because you'd be comparing Schooners to a business that no longer exists, one that isn't being recreated. I don't believe that to be a valid comparison. No moreso than comparing the business that existed before foxys to foxys is (eg. you could argue that Foxy's represented a great improvement over the former business). Statistics are risky without proper context because they can be used to say a lot of different things (I'm so glad the political season is over :) ). Its a new owner, new management team, a new business plan, and there's no connection to Foxy's. My Questions: If you drive through Port at 10pm on a Friday night .... how many people are around downtown? Is it ok for there to be a more vibrant late night location in town? What sort of future controls should there be to obtain a liquor license that shouldn't be applied ex post facto to the current applicant? I'm sure the existing bar owners would prefer that another bar not open up to pull business away from them. However, I'm not a fan of situations where people object to competition, competition that will force the existing businesses to improve to retain or grow their customer base. And again, I don't believe the Chief/Council have a leg to stand on as long as they're allowing illegal gambling machines all over town. I'd prefer to hear an angle about rampant cronyism on that topic. ;)
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 03:07 PM
@Greg -- whether or not it's a fair to consider a previous business' history when allowing a new business is not something that I can decide here — so I am glad you bring up the point. As far as a different story ... if Schooner Pub had more police calls than Foxys ... then those who are indeed arguing that Foxys' history is cause for concern would have lost some of the bulk of their argument, would be my point. Is that fair? Again, not my place to input opinion on that one, though it seems you think not.
Greg Huegerich December 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I think you've got good motives for why the comparison was drawn. I'm just not sure the other bars have enough patronage for it to be valid. A ratio of police calls per customers served would likely turn out out to show that Foxy's had far fewer calls than the other establishments. Which puts us back to the question, which I'd like to see us hold politicians directly accountable for: Should Port have a vibrant night life? For them to mask their concerns behind the number of police calls (from the original article) and other innuendo is a dodge of that more important issue. We just saw a mayoral election where I believe one of the candidates was actually For improving the area for younger visitors and residents (20 and 30somethings). That issue didn't seem to get a lot of traction with the older members of the board ... but the way their comments have been shaking out here, I think we can see where they stand.
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Another good point, Greg. Foxys definitely filled that younger niche. Schooner Pub with it's alley and "young adult" crowd was the best — but far from perfect — comparison.
Chauncey December 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Comparing police calls between these two bars in that particular period does nothing. The ratio of clients was substantially higher--importantly at peak late night hours where conflicts erupt--at foxys compared to schooners.
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 05:26 PM
You make a good point, but as stated this is the most similar situation found in downtown Port ... it's proximity at least is reason to consider. Taking a different look at it, if you divide Schooner Pub's total calls into a percentage of how many were disorderly conduct/battery: 23%. At Foxys: 45%. Here again, as you pointed out, this could very well be linked to the crowd that is "substantially higher--importantly at peak late night hours where conflicts erupt." There are problems with these comparisons, and problems with holding such things against others ... I have not yet been able to learn if Troy Koput requested an open session to discuss his license, but when I find out I will be sure to let the public know so you can come and discuss the issue ... in any event, you can always speak your mind to city officials via e-mail or by coming to the council meeting and speaking during public comment, 7:30 p.m. the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at City Hall. Next week Tuesday *the 18th!* is when Deville's will be discussed.
Greg Huegerich December 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM
And to be fair to the Chief .... his main concern will be proper staffing for safety in town. Meaning, the only number that matters to him is the raw number of calls received. However ... that's not necessarily what's best for Port. Another thriving business has a tendancy to provide the city with revenue. ;)
Christian Zaja December 11, 2012 at 07:30 PM
The reputation of a former business should have no bearing on a new business. The building code violations are "building" violations, not leasee violations. These violations have been violations of the building for several years, yet were never addressed. They were sent up in reports to the city and never handled. Comparing bars in town is a no-win situation. The former Foxy's was the largest bar in town (possibly county). It was also the only one that provided live entertainment on weekends. On the weekends it seemed everyone would start at another establishment and end at Foxy's. This generally happened between 11-2am. Disorderly conduct is a broad spectrum of laws condensed into one. There is no longer a public intoxication law. So being loud, rude, drunk in public, etc. is all classified under disorderly conduct. Another funny thing is the list of calls made by Foxy's to police were made by staff members. This is a catch 22. As a staff member you are supposed to call when you have underage drinking or attempting, fake ids, drunk and disorderly patrons, fights, etc. However, if you do ask for police assistance, then your establishment is later frowned upon in the public eye and by the very same police department you are supposed to cooperate with. Also, most incidents not called in by staff members occur outside an establishment - they happen within the public.
Christian Zaja December 11, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Once again however, none of these facts, statements, or comparisons have anything to do with the issuance of a liquor license. I ask again, if city officials did not like Foxy's or the building code violations, why was the license renewed in July? These violations were in effect then! All of these articles have to do with that establishment. Why is a new business being harassed based on the reputation of an old one? Now the city all of a sudden does not want another bar in town? Hasn't that building pretty much been a bar since the late 1800's? Like it has been stated before, now all businesses that are open past 5pm are suffering. Numbers I would assume are drastically down in other bars and restaurants, apart from the locals. Isn't this supposed to be a tourist destination? Yet officials hike taxes to an all time high on hotels and fight new establishments who want to and do draw tourists from surrounding cities and counties. Ridiculous.
Nick December 11, 2012 at 08:24 PM
This is discrimination, pure and simple. They never revoked Foxy's license before, despite all the horrific, gruesome "problems" they had with that bar (sarcasm). A completely new owner, even with the same business plan shouldn't be turned down, let alone a new business plan that caters to an older crowd, which could only reduce the "problems" that affected this location in the past. You cannot judge a book by another book's cover, that's just plain ignorant. Especially when you didn't have a problem with that business in the first place, not enough to revoke it's liquor license. What's really comical is the code violations that are pointed out, have existed the past several years under Foxy's ownership, so why weren't these items brought up to code before the license was renewed each year? Does the fire chief only care about code violations when he's instructed to by the city officials?
Christian Zaja December 11, 2012 at 08:49 PM
No as stated before the inspectors are doing their jobs. They do the inspections and then turn their reports over to the city. If the city in turn, does not enforce the violations, then they are to blame. There is only one person who runs this city and it is not the mayor.
Terry December 11, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I am not sure I would go as far as "thepatchsux" did above (awful user name by the way). I did find myself wondering the same thing though, and that was if Ms. Beyer had any skin in this game. It does seem mostly rehashed material, with a few new points thrown in, perhaps to justify itself. One of the big criticisms I have heard about the patch around town, its that it sacrificed journalistic integrity to "get chummy" with the previous chief. I hope that is not what is happening here, because there are legitimate questions that need direct answers and I would like to see them asked. To start with, I am not sure I am buying into this comparison. Statistics can be what they are for a variety of reasons. Just given the short list you listed above, it is clear that Foxy's self reported at least a percentage of these. If schooners didn't, and just hid these things, are we not penalizing Foxy's for trying to work with the police instead of handling it themselves or hiding it? Statistics can also be manipulated to receive a desired result. Milwaukee Police showed us that, but its been a problem with other agencies as well. How you classify a call, or where you list it as the location can be used to fudge or hide numbers. The owner of schooners is very connected, and liked by those in city government. Foxy's owner was not. Was Schooners listed as involved in any of those broken trees in front or it, or where the just listed as Franklin Street complaints?
annon December 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I know this has been said time and time again, but honestly I don't understand why ANY of this matters. No one is trying to reopen Foxy's. The proposed idea for Deville's is a completely different concept, different owner, and different target age group. What exactly is the issue? That the building in itself is cursed to bring bad vibes to the community? Is that why there are so many empty buildings downtown? Also, bringing Christian's irrelevant past into makes Port Washington's officials seem like the gossipy small town everyone accuses us of being. I mean, really, honestly... one OWI or DUI or whatever from over half a decade ago? How does that amount to someone being a bad business manager? I would like to know if any of the officials have actually taken the time to ask around or talk to Christian in person. From what I know, his employment at Foxy's prevented a multitude of problems, and caused none. That man worked like a DOG for that place, even without having any say. Personally, I can't think of anyone better to turn that establishment around and make it something great. Also, I would like to mention that without Foxy's there most people I know leave Port now when they want to go out. They aren't frequenting other local bars, they are taking business elsewhere. Foxy's closing was probably the best thing that's ever happened to downtown Cedarburg. So, goodjob. Let's make Port worse instead of better.
jon dough December 12, 2012 at 06:25 AM
We use to call it schooner hour when all the over served schooners crowd would make their way down to foxys at about 12:30-1 a.m. Also of this report I would like to how many of these people were repeat offenders? Probably none because we would ban them. How can you blame an establishment for a very few causing problems. All bars have the same problems. Of course a more popular bar will have more individuals that cause problems. But we did use the police a lot to help and now I am sad we cooperated so much since its causing problems with Troy and Christian from getting a fresh start.
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The fate of Deville's Lounge will be discussed in a public session on Tuesday http://patch.com/A-0sL1

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