Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Federal Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Claiming The Racine Mayor, City Council And Police Targeted Black, Hispanic And Thai Tavern Owners For Closure

John Dickert, Kurt S. Wahlen, Joseph G. Legath, Mary Osterman and Devin P. Sutherland

Former Black, Hispanic and Thai tavern owners filed a federal lawsuit against the Racine Mayor John Dickert, the city's former and current members of the Common Council and former Police Department Chief Kurt Wahlen, claiming that they were discriminated and targeted for business closures.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 25, 2014

Racine, WI - On Tuesday, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) has learned that a Chicago and a Milwaukee law firm have both filed a 50-page federal discrimination lawsuit at the U.S. District Court of Eastern Wisconsin shortly after 4:00 p.m. in behave of former Afro-American (Black), Hispanic and Thai tavern owners from Racine against the Racine Mayor John Dickert, the city's former and current members of the Common Council and former Racine Police Department Chief Kurt Wahlen. The plaintiffs claimed that the Racine officials named in the lawsuit intentionally discriminated against the plaintiffs and targeted minority tavern owners to basically minimize tavern ownership by Blacks, Hispanics and Thai in the City of Racine.
Mayor Dickert allegedly took illegal contributions from the Racine Tavern League and in return awarded White members with liquor licenses taken away from minority tavern owners that had been revoked. Dickert also hired some members of the tavern league to work for the City of Racine, the lawsuit claims.
The Plaintiffs include, Cerafin C. Davalos from Cera's Tequila Bar, Jose and Maria Maldonado from the Cruise Inn, former Racine Alderman Otha Keith Fair prior owner of Place on Sixth, Pythaphone Khampane and Omjai Nueakeaw from Ginger's Lounge, Wilbur Jones from Viper's Lounge and Thomas J. Holmes, the former owner of Park 6.
The Defendants include, current Mayor John Dickert, former Mayor Gary E. Becker; Racine Downtown Corporation, including its executive director Davin P. Sutherland and manager of the Racine Downtown Business Improvement District 1; the Racine City Tavern League, Inc.; Kurt S. Wahlen, former Racine Police Chief; the following Racine Aldermen, Jeffrey A. Coe, James Kaplan, Raymond Dehahn, Gregory T. Helding, David L. Maack II, Aron M. Wisneski and Robert E. Mozol; Mark L. Levine, chairman of the Downtown Business Improvement District 1; Joseph G. Legath, member of the Racine City Tavern League and board member of the Downtown Business Improvement District 1; Douglas E. Nicholson, member of the Racine City Tavern League; Monte G. Osterman; Mary Osterman, Treasurer of Mayor John Dickert's election campaign; and Gregory S. Bach, Assistant to Mayor John Dickert.
The Racine city officials are expected to be served with the federal lawsuit by Wednesday. The Milwaukee law firm involved in the filing is Kohler and Hart S.C. and Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney Ltd. from Chicago.
The minority tavern owners lawsuit is expect to be one of the major lawsuits to hit Racine city officials and is expected to ask for an unspecified amount in damages, according to the lawsuit filing.

Black, Hispanic and Thai tavern owners lawsuit

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