Minocqua Brewing Company Bank Accounts Frozen in Violation of Due Process

Minocqua Brewing Company Bank Accounts Frozen in Violation of Due Process

Hello friends,
I’m typing this email today in Minocqua fully expecting that the Minocqua Brewing Company’s bank account and my own personal bank accounts will be frozen before the business week starts tomorrow.
Last Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican strongman Robin Vos’ personal attorney, Matt Fernholz, furtively filed a summons to garnish money from those accounts while my attorneys were working on an appeal to stop a rural judge from seizing my company in what has to be the most insanely screwed-up defamation lawsuit in Wisconsin’s history.
How can a lawyer seize my bank accounts before I am allowed to appeal Forest County Judge Stenz’s ridiculous decision to force me to start paying Wisconsin’s largest defamation claim in history, a whopping $750K, when it is VERY LIKELY we will win on appeal, and WHEN MY INSURANCE COMPANY is still on the hook to cover this claim?
It sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?
Well it is. This is a huge violation of due process, and they won’t get away with it when we can finally get in front of an appellate court.
But what they will accomplish while we work furiously to rectify this problem is to bring my company to its knees at the beginning of our highly-profitable tourism season.
Without access to funds, I

  1. can’t pay my employees.
  2. can’t make beer.
  3. can’t buy more inventory when we sell out of what we currently have.

Fernholz, along with the publisher of the kookiest MAGA propaganda rag in Wisconsin, Gregg Walker, and the judge they have in their pocket—Leon Stenz—know this.  They know they’ll lose once this hits the appellate courts, but they don’t care. Their goal was never to collect money from me. Their goal is to put me out of business because I am one of the loudest and most persistent voices of truth in this literal backwoods of MAGA misinformation, in one of the most crucial swing states in America.
Now I, like you, still can’t believe that after a jury awarded Walker $750K LAST OCTOBER--after being read the WRONG JURY INSTRUCTIONS by the judge that didn’t explain to them that public figures (like newspaper publishers) have a much higher bar to hit before claiming defamation, and that “actual malice” has to be proven before one can win a defamation claim (it wasn’t)-- WE’RE STILL NOT IN AN APPEALS COURT!
This just isn’t right.
Compare what is happening to me to how the courts have treated Donald Trump over the last year:

  1. Trump lost a huge civil fraud lawsuit and was allowed to post a $175M bond before the courts started seizing his assets or freezing his bank accounts.
  2. Trump lost a huge defamation case against E Jean Carroll and was allowed to post a $91M bond before the courts starting seizing his assets or freezing his bank accounts.
  3. Trump’s 2 OTHER criminal lawsuits have been successfully delayed by higher courts until after the presidential election in November.  If Trump wins that election, he can direct his own justice department to drop Jack Smith’s federal case against him.
  4. Even in last week’s porn star hush money conviction (finally), most legal experts agree that Trump will not actually go to prison because an appeals court will stay his conviction until the appeals process is finished—which will be after the election.

In each of these cases, Trump’s personal or business finances have not been touched, nor have his freedoms been limited, while he fights in court.
I don’t care if you’re a MAGA Republican or the most left leaning progressive activist—EVERYONE should agree that the lack of due process in my case compared to Trump’s is galling.
If you’re a Republican—a member of a party that used to at least GIVE LIP SERVICE to siding with small businesses against government overreach—do you feel comfortable that the GOVERNMENT (justice system) is allowed to cripple a small business without due process?
And Republicans, do you feel comfortable that this is the 3rd time in 3 years that different forms of local government have done their most to inflict pain on the SAME BUSINESS during its crucial summer tourism season.

  1. 2022 Town of Minocqua refused to let us build a beer garden and demanded we build a parking lot instead—effectively erasing ~$500K in potential summer sales.
  2. 2023 Oneida County acknowledges that the Town of Minocqua didn’t have the jurisdiction to tell us we couldn’t build a beer garden, but voted to deny us a beer garden anyway—again erasing ~$500K in potential sales.  AND…they voted to shut us down because we legally started serving beer on our concrete stoop to attempt to regain the lost sales of a vetoed beer garden.
  3. 2024 Oneida/Forest County Judge allows the garnishment of our bank accounts by one of the wealthiest men in Oneida County at the beginning of the tourism season—once again crippling our business at the worst possible time.

It CANNOT BE MORE OBVIOUS that every aspect of local government in Wisconsin’s Northwoods is working in tandem to destroy my business—the same business that has arguably drawn more NEW TOURISTS to the area than any other in a decade.
The Town of Minocqua, Oneida County, the local newspaper, and their useful judge have proven to be as stubborn in trying to destroy my business as I have been about saving it. The difference between me and them is that I’m legally right and they're wrong.
Folks, this fight I have in front of me to regain access to my bank accounts and to stop these hateful men from destroying my company while we can get in front of an appellate court is going to be furious over the next few months. 
Their latest attempt to destroy my business is yet another brazen political attack to silence a powerful voice that has helped protect Wisconsin’s democracy time and time again since 2020.  If you can help me fight back, not only to save my business from Republican gang warfare but to help us keep fighting to stop Trump in November, please donate here.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with the Minocqua Brewing Company.
I’m never going to give up because I’m on the right side of history, I’m on the right side of the law, and with your help, I will keep fighting to protect Wisconsin’s, and by extension, America’s, democracy in this coming election.

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

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