In wake of bar fight video, Quotes owner to relinquish liquor license

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Marcia Nelesen
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

JANESVILLE--The owner of Quotes Bar & Grill will relinquish her liquor license Dec. 1, concluding almost a decade of conflict with police.

Police Chief Dave Moore has described the environment at the downtown tavern as a “culture of violence.” He said the last straw for him was a “shocking” video of an October fight that seriously injured a patron.

Denise Carpenter's decision to relinquish her liquor license effective at 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, also ends Moore's plan to revoke the license, saving the city time and money.

A Friday hearing had been scheduled before the city's Alcohol License Advisory Committee. With the committee's support, the request for revocation would have moved on to the city council.

Quotes opened at 24 N. Main St. in 2004 and almost immediately started to receive attention from police.

In January 2005, a fight between a bouncer and patron ended with the customer in a coma and the bouncer charged with felony battery.

Police at the time said officers had been at Quotes more than any other tavern—17 times in November 2004 and 21 in December 2004.

Since then, Carpenter has appeared numerous times before the Alcohol License Advisory Committee, promising to change management to end problems at the bar.

Moore noted police worked with Carpenter and with bouncers to train them to avoid issues.

“In the early years, we were trying to find a balance where we would have respect for their business and yet make it safe,” Moore said. “As the years went on, the balance did not come, and they needed to close.”

In June 2012, police learned someone at the bar deleted a video of a fight.

Moore gave Carpenter a choice between a revocation hearing and sanctions. She chose the sanctions and closed the bar early for six months. Moore said the majority of serious problems at the tavern happen after 12:30 a.m.

The sanctions ended in December, but problems continued.

An entire shift of police recently reported to the bar after an incident.

The tavern's security cameras recorded the October fight. The video shows a patron throwing a drink on a man at the bar. The man turns and rifles a glass at the woman's head. Shards of glass rip into the face of a nearby woman.

 “The level of violence was significant, and as much as we had tried over the years to reduce it, it just wasn't changing,” Moore said.

 “This one—being able to see this video and see innocent patrons receiving significant injuries—was shocking to watch.

“And here we are again.”

Moore in October told Carpenter she could avoid a revocation hearing if she agreed to close early for one year.

Carpenter did not respond by the Nov. 1 deadline and has since put the bar up for sale for $775,000.

Carpenter on Wednesday signed the agreement to relinquish her liquor license in December.

Moore said he still has concerns for public safety at Quotes until the close date, and extra patrols will be assigned to the area.

“This license relinquishment will bring a close to the concerns of public safety, disorder and perception of safety in the downtown business district as it relates to Quotes Bar & Grill,” Moore said.

Last updated: 7:09 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

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