Agreement returns Wasko’s liquor licenseWasko’s Campground Plus can sell alcohol again, prompted by a last-minute agreement forged in Douglas County Circuit Court on Friday between business owner Chris Zoltak and the Bennett Town Board.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Wasko’s Campground Plus can sell alcohol again, prompted by a last-minute agreement forged in Douglas County Circuit Court on Friday between business owner Chris Zoltak and the Bennett Town Board.
Wasko’s, located on County Highway P, has been without a class B beer and liquor license since the board voted not to renew it during a closed session meeting June 26.
Zoltak filed suit against the town two weeks later seeking to have the license renewed. The two sides struck an agreement Friday in front of Judge George Glonek to renew the liquor license pending the outcome of a separate criminal case against Zoltak.
According to the agreement, the liquor license for CCZ Campground, Inc., which runs Wasko's, was renewed by the close of business Friday. If Zoltak is convicted of a felony, he would surrender the license. By state law, a convicted felon cannot hold a liquor license.
As part of the agreement, no blame was assigned, and each side pays their own attorney costs.
“So we’ve tried to do the best thing for everybody involved in this situation,” said Bennett Town Board Supervisor Wesley Koehler.
Zoltak, 37, faces one count felony possession with intent to deliver marijuana and misdemeanor charges of possession of an illegally obtained prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia and having an unlicensed liquor operator in Douglas County Circuit Court. The charges stem from an April 23 compliance inspection at Wasko’s Campground Plus by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the criminal complaint:
The inspection turned up 70 grams of marijuana in a chest freezer in the campground’s bar and a stolen firearm. About 15 ounces of marijuana was found during a warrant search executed later in the day at Wasko’s bar.
Zoltak’s next court appearance in the criminal case is Sept. 9.
Zoltak grew up a mile from the campground and worked there for a dozen years before buying it about 14 years ago. He said the town’s decision to withhold the liquor license didn’t put him out of business and didn’t address what he feels is the biggest concern neighbors have — the noise created at the campground during concerts, especially the annual Metal Fest concert. The concerts will go on regardless of the license, Zoltak said. It did cost him an estimated $50,000 worth of business by closing the bar taps during his two busiest months.
“We got what we wanted here today, we got our license back, the opportunity to go back into business and do what we love to do,” Zoltak said Friday following the hearing. He said it was a good sign the two sides were able to come to a resolution without forcing a judge to decide.
“I’m kind of glad we were able to come to an agreement between us and maybe we can work together in the future to smooth things out,” he said.
The Bennett Town Board passed a noise ordinance Aug. 12, similar to one that covers the village of Lake Nebagamon. Supervisors said it doesn’t target any particular business or group. Individuals, businesses and organizations can get a permit to exceed the noise limit for special events, Koehler said. The town board must approve the permit.
Koehler spoke briefly with Zoltak about arranging a meeting to discuss the new ordinance.
“I think that everything’s going to work out,” Zoltak said. “We’re going to make some adjustments on how we handle concert-goers and concerts … it will go back to business as usual, so to speak, with a little bit of minor tweaking.
“I’m just glad to be allowed to reopen. That’s all I wanted in the first place.”