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Thirsty Moose seeks $2 million in damages from city

Feb. 26, 2009

The relationship between the city of Cudahy and The Thirsty Moose continued its downward slide this week: An attorney for tavern owner Cristie Bonchek filed a $2 million harassment claim against the city just days before a Cudahy committee recommended her liquor license be revoked.

The claim, often a precursor to a lawsuit, states that members of the Police Department and other city officials "have engaged in an egregious course of reckless and vindictive actions attempting to destroy (the) complainant's business."

Alderwoman and Rules, Laws and Licensing Committee Chairwoman Mary Schissel also is under fire. Bonchek's attorney, Alan Eisenberg, said signatures are being collected for a recall petition to remove her from her aldermanic post. The petition states that Schissel "appears to exhibit reckless harassment of a Cudahy business owner to gain personal advantage of a relative and has publicly expressed a bias against a local tax-paying business owner."

Eisenberg said Schissel is related to the owner of Club Bagdad, a tavern across the street from The Thirsty Moose. He requested Schissel recuse herself from the committee during the Feb. 25 hearing on the liquor license revocation.

City Attorney Paul Eberhardy said Schissel has no personal financial interest in Club Bagdad and that she did not need to recuse herself.

During the 4 1/2 -hour hearing, 27 police reports were used as evidence that Bonchek was maintaining what Mark Stephens, the attorney representing the Cudahy Police Department, called a "riotous house."

"Based on all evidence presented tonight, the Rules, Laws and Licensing Committee finds that the license holder did keep or maintain a disorderly or riotous or indecent or improper house as shown by instances of improper conduct and violation of Cudahy municipal code," Schissel said.

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