Thursday, March 6, 2003

City Council debates fate of Uncle Milt's

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The revocation of Uncle Milt's liquor license has not stopped the controversy surrounding the Avondale bar.

Wednesday, Cincinnati City Council debated a resolution from Councilman Chris Monzel that asks a Common Pleas judge not to reinstate the bar's license in the event of an appeal.

But three council members - Paul Booth, Minette Cooper and Alicia Reece - questioned the reasoning behind the latest resolution. Was Monzel pushing it at the request of the nearby Ronald McDonald House? How many problems have there been lately? Why isn't the city targeting other bars?

The suggestion underlying the questions - all from black council members - was that the city gives unequal enforcement to African-American establishments.

Police raided the bar last year, seized 9 grams of cocaine and 43 grams of marijuana. One bartender was accused of selling cocaine over-the-counter.

Melanie Reising, an assistant city solicitor, said police observed several hand-to-hand drug transactions there just last Friday, but didn't make arrests.

Police Spc. Len LaBrecque said an officer working surveillance documented the drug dealing, but uniformed officers weren't available because they were supporting a prostitution bust.

Uncle Milt's has two weeks to appeal the decision, and can ask the court to allow it to remain open through the process. Monzel's resolution, which passed Wednesday, asked the court to keep it closed throughout the appeal.


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