Literary nightspot set to reopen despite neighbors’ complaints and challenge to liquor license
by Jerleen Justus
(Plain Press, May 2012) Despite a challenge to the transfer of the liquor license from the 806 Martini and Wine Bar, plans are in the works to reopen the nightspot at 806 Literary Road in the Tremont neighborhood and continue to serve alcohol.
On March 22, 2012, before Ohio Liquor Control Hearing Officer James Bally, Tremont residents Heinz Mikota and wife Janet Zibert testified to and documented years of grief, hardship, physical and mental anguish they have been forced to endure while living next door to the 806 Martini and Wine Bar.
On August 24, 2011, Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman, who in previous years had been a supporter of the 806 Martini and Wine Bar, filed an objection and request for hearing to the renewal and transfer of the nightclub’s (D5 – D6) liquor license. Cimperman’s objections were based on the number of reported complaints and questionable activities extending from the bar. To date, no decision from the Liquor Control Board has been announced.
Even though the fate of the 806 Liquor Permit still hangs in the balance, the building’s owner, Tom Leneghan, along with former manager of Edison’s Pub, Joe Kahn, have big plans for re-opening the nightspot (May 5, 2012) as Barrio’s, an upscale Taco joint to include serving spirited beverages.
On April 20, 2012, Janet Zibert stated, “With skulls and crossbones on the decor? What’s next, black leather whips and a downstairs tattoo parlor? Body piercing on the back patio? I guess it won’t be a “family themed” venue unless it’s the Manson Family den!”
“They are not even open yet and today I had to chase away a white van that was parked across my drive while the female vendor was selling her wares to Mr. Kahn.” The long time Tremont resident further stated, “I have asked Mr. Cimperman for two years, yes, two years for the ‘Do Not Block Driveway’ sign that was taken down.”
Mikota and Zibert followed through by electronic communication to TWDC Executive Director Cory Riordan, Board President Henry Senyak, Vice President Sue Coy, Councilman Joe Cimperman, City Law Director Sue Bungard, and Second District Police Commander Keith Sulzer stating, “Do these bozos even have a food license for the kitchen? What about parking (or lack of), and the liquor license? Where are the BOZA (Board of Zoning Appeals) and building and housing bozos? What is the LEGAL occupancy permit? The patios and basement are NOT legal!”
Although going through a series of management/ownership changes, the disturbances that have robbed Mikota and Zibert of the peaceful enjoyment of their home and quality of life have continued and grown over the past ten (10) years. In 2008-2009, Leneghan sold the business to House of Cues owner Karl Dlugos/Grape Devine, Inc. The bar continued to operate under the 806 Martini and Wine Bar dub and under the management of Dlugos’ leading lady Lisa Gottschalt.
In recent years, Mikota and Zibert, a professional couple, have reached out to the Cleveland Police Department, area block clubs and constituent groups, Councilman Joe Cimperman, TWDC staff, committees and board members in hopes of finding some type of support and assistance in resolving their unbearable sleep depravity and tiresome stress. Heinze Mikota, a Professor and Dr. of Dentistry for nearly thirty-five (35) years, in addition to his own practice, volunteered his skill and services to the Cleveland Clinic for sixteen years. Zibert is also a caregiver in the medical profession.
While Mikota and Zibert appeared at meeting after meeting with continued discussions and complaints of screaming drunks, loud music, street brawling, patrons drinking on the sidewalk underneath their windows, sexual acts (including with a traffic cone), foul language, cigarette butts and broken bottles, after hours activities, parking and blocked driveways, 806 Manager Gottschalt winged her way into TWDC via committees and a co-chair position on the Fundraising and Marketing Committee.
As complaint after complaint rolled in about the ongoing activities taking place on the premises and surrounding area of 806, by the Mikota, Zibert and other Tremont residents, 2009-2011 TWDC staff and board members, including the Development Project Manager, Board President, Ward 3 Community Coordinator and the Executive Director often excused Gottschalt of the violations and provided an umbrella for the 806 owner/manager to conduct business.
In a message to Mikota and Zibert (April 21, 2012), former TWDC/OCI Safety Coordinator Robert Shores stated, “… I observed all kinds of parking infractions around 806. It was a real mess. Thus, it was my opinion that all of your complaints were completely founded, as I observed them with my own eyes. Staff at TWDC ordered me to stay out of there and to let them handle this matter and to ignore your complaints. I informed them that I was doing my job….”
Upset with the impending reopening of the nightspot, Zibert said, “What a load of crap. All those meetings and hearings down the drain. And this is Quality of Life! Good neighbor? As the TWDC mission statement says: To maintain and improve the living, business and cultural conditions for all of Tremont.”
During one of the 806 – Mikota mediation meetings in 2010, Police Commander Keith Sulzer stated, “One of the quickest ways to lose a liquor license or the support of the community is to ignore the quality of life issues surrounding their establishments.”
At the March 22, Liquor Board Hearing, Lt. William F. Mone, of the Second District Vice unit, testified that approximately two years ago, he began to receive complaints about drug and other illegal activities at the 806 Martini and Wine Bar. He stated that some of the complaints came from citizens, some from anonymous sources and some at the direction of Commander Sulzer. Lt. Mone further stated that around that time he was in contact with the Lakewood Narc Unit (Lakewood Incident Report 1691-1694) and learned that Lisa Gottschalt had been indicted for Felony Drug Possession. He stated that he was later advised that the charges had been withdrawn without prejudice.
Following Mone’s testimony, Atty. Mike Dolan, (employed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office), on behalf of the 806 Martini and Wine Bar owner Karl Dlugos, asked whether or not any evidence of drug activity had been found in connection to 806 Martini and Wine Bar. Lt. Mone stated that his investigation had not been completed due to the length of time it would take to find an informant or put someone into an undercover position.
Only six days following the Liquor Control Board Inquisition, Cuyahoga County Court records show that Lisa Gottschalt and karl Dlugos were arrested and charged with Felony Crimes of drug possession and drug trafficking.