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I.C. Willy's loses final appeal at State Supreme Court


MADISON (WSAU)   The State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Wausau in the I.C. Willy's liquor license case. The city council voted not to renew the controversial bar’s liquor license after a series of violations in 2009. Thomas Nowell, who owned the bar, sued after losing the license.

The Supreme Court case centered on whether Nowell could present new evidence during the appeals process, or whether the courts would only review the actions and hearings the city had already taken in the case. An appeals court ruled the appeals process should begin ‘de novo’, with both the city and bar owner being allowed to raise new issues and present new evidence. Today’s Supreme Court ruling reverses that decision. The court unanimously ruled that earlier city hearings in the I.C. Willy's case were valid, and the courts should only review whether the city followed proper procedures in removing the liquor license.

The high court also ruled that the city acted properly in not renewing I.C. Willy’s license.

The bar itself has since closed, and a new Kwik Trip is being built on the property.

Other cities and counties had watched the case closely since it could have limited their power to review or remove licenses from businesses within their borders. The cities of Racine, Milwaukee and Madison filed court briefs supporting Wausau’s appeal.