Appeals Court Saves Minocqua Brewing Company, Immediately Stopping Vengeful Collection Efforts

Appeals Court Saves Minocqua Brewing Company, Immediately Stopping Vengeful Collection Efforts

Last Friday, Wisconsin’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled to immediately stop the unethical and vengeful garnishment of the Minocqua Brewing Company’s assets by Gregg Walker, publisher of the Lakeland Times, and his Republican attack dog (more like an attack Chihuahua) Matt Fernholz, President of Milwaukee’s insidious Federalist Society.
This was the first favorable ruling we’ve received after 3 years of legal bludgeoning by Forest County Judge Leon Stenz, who repeatedly misinterpreted long-standing and settled defamation law in favor of Wisconsin’s most right-wing purveyor of misinformation and Putin-backed propaganda.
After we heard the news, we celebrated. 
As I’ve said for three years, my speech, albeit very sharp and sometimes emotional, is protected by the first amendment--ESPECIALLY when trying to defend myself and my company against a newspaper that has published over 65 hit pieces against us since we flew a Biden/Harris Flag in October, 2020
What does this mean?
It means the legal system worked in Wisconsin, at least in this instance.
The judicial system recognizes that local courts and law enforcement, when their members are part of an old boy’s network that close ranks when small town outsiders threaten the status quo, can often misapply the law.
…sort of like when a progressvie brewing company correctly and repeatedly shines a light on the illegal back-room dealings of an unincorporated tourist town that doesn't understand the basics of jurisdiction, a county that jettisons due process and uses selective enforcement as a weapon, and a rich newspaper publisher that bullies local politicians with hit pieces unless they do his bidding.
The appellate courts were designed to correct these errors by taking emotion and local politics out of the equation.
The “stay” we just got from Wisconsin’s Third District Court of Appeals was the correct decision, but we still have a long way to go. The court granted this emergency motion because Walker and Fernholz overplayed their hand. Seizing my bank accounts before we could even file motions in the appellate court (while waiting on transcripts from prior hearings) was absurd and vengeful.
No reasonable judge wants to see that level of aggression coming from a plaintiff.

But this “stay” is not the “stay” we ultimately need to protect Walker/Fernholz from dismantling my business--it just buys us some time.
The next motion to “stay” will ask the appellate court to stop Walker/Fernholz from seizing my assets for the duration of the appeals process, which could take years.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of uncertainty in this next phase. Wisconsin’s Third District Court of Appeals, the one in rural Northern Wisconsin, is comprised of three ex-Governor-Scott-Walker-appointed judges--meaning they were appointed because of their ties, either tacitly or explicitly, to Wisconsin’s Republican Party, by a governor that arguably damaged our state more than any other in Wisconsin's history. 
I’ve been told that these judges, by the mere fact they’ve made it to the esteemed appellate court level, SHOULD focus more on the law than on their own political allegiances. I've also lived in Wisconsin and America during an era of conservative judicial malfeasance at the state and federal Supreme Court levels, causing me to cynically worry that I won't get a fair shake.
And since I can’t count on getting this next “stay,” I have to prepare for the eventuality that Walker/Fernhoz will continue to mow my company down while we work this case through the system and hopefully take it to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court--where I believe REASON WILL PREVAIL and this legal farce will finally come to an end.
To prepare for this worst possible outcome, I’ve engaged lawyers to protect my assets, which could even include filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the event that I lose this next stay.
I believe this next phase of legal work will cost about $50,000, which is a lot of money. Since our insurers, West Bend and Society Insurance, are still technically on the hook to PAY THIS SETTLEMENT and are currently paying for our appellate attorneys to defend us, we asked that they also pay for the attorneys we hired to protect our assets because we WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO hire them had they honored the contract we signed years ago that protects us from defamation lawsuits.
They refused our request, thus putting us AGAIN into financial peril. One might call this getting "out of the frying pan into the fire."
Along with reminding Wisconsinites to NEVER BUY INSURANCE FROM WEST BEND OR SOCIETY INSURANCE, we’re adding these additional legal expenses to the now approximately $3 million dollar (and counting) “bad faith” lawsuit against these two insurance companies.

Between suing our insurance companies and staring down large legal fees to protect our assets if we don’t get the “stay,” my company is in trouble.
Luckily, the summer tourism season is upon us and we’re starting to make more money in beer sales, but I'm worried that we won't be able to weather these legal battles without some help.
When our bank accounts were frozen last week, you collectively donated over $25K to help us fight back, which is approximately half of what we need to pay for this next legal fight. If you can help us raise another $25K, we should be able to withstand any adverse decision that comes from the 3rd District Appeals Court and do our best to find justice in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. 

Here's the link to donate.

Over the years, I've relied more and more on the poem "Invictus" to help me get through what is seemingly an endless political struggle to simply run my business. It really does take an "unconquerable soul" to keep fighting local Republican ghouls hellbent on destroying my company while simultaneously fighting statewide Republican ghouls hellbent on destroying Wisconsin's Democracy.

Hopefully enough of you appreciate my company’s mission and how we’ve helped keep Wisconsin blue over the years to help us weather this current storm.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with the Minocqua Brewing Company.

Together, one beer at a time, "{We must be} the master{s}of {Wisconsin's} fate, and {We must be} the captain{s} of {America's} soul."

Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC

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