Logo courtesy of City of Ames
By Andrew Duffelmeyer
(Oct. 12, 2011 - 10:30 a.m.) The Ames City Council has denied a liquor license renewal for Club Element and Chasers, with longtime City Councilman Riad Mahayni saying the business's renewal form was one of the worst he's ever seen.
The council voted 4-0 to deny the renewal, despite bar owner Scott Davis appearing to address the council's concerns.
Ames Police Commander Geoff Huff did not recommend a license renewal for the business, which is located at 2401 Chamberlain. The bar is three levels and over 14,000 square feet, with a capacity of just under 500.
"With the very high number of calls for service, underage patrons in the establishment, and apparent inability of the staff to make improvements after continued contact, I cannot recommend renewing their license," Huff wrote in a form to the council.
During the last 12 months the bar turned in 108 fake or altered ID's; had 47 citations; and police responded to 116 calls in and around the business. There were also 28 false alarms at the business over the last year.
Davis failed to pay over $600 in fees for those false alarms and they were turned over to a collection agency. He also owes over $2,000 in unpaid parking tickets to the city.
Huff outlined several situations at the bar that concerned police, including a patron under the age of 18 being in the bar; an employee of the bar found inside at 2:53 a.m. with a blood alcohol content of .221; and a gate not being watched after the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game.
"It appears there are times when people just aren't watching the door," Huff said.
The city has also received approval from the county attorney to file a charge against the bar for over-serving during a compliance check, Huff said.
Davis said he rewards employees with $15 for each fake ID taken, and 90 percent of employees have attended police ID training. He also said he's fired employees that don't carry out their duties.
"We've had a lot of turnover this year," Davis said. "We're constantly looking for the right combination of door staff and floor staff to rectify the situation. We always try to find door staff that is not a student on campus so we're not having any conflict of interest there. But we had some kids that made a lot of mistakes and those kids are no longer with us."
City Councilman Peter Orazem asked Davis what happened this year, noting last year the bar had just eight violations.
"In 2007 there were 44 violations, obviously you caught the attention of the council at that time and then for the next three years there had to have been a conscious business decision to do as well as you did," Orazem said. "And it strikes me there had to have been a constant business decision to go in the opposite direction."