We Won in Court Yesterday, but County Still Planning to Shut Us Down This Thursday

We Won in Court Yesterday, but County Still Planning to Shut Us Down This Thursday

Yesterday, Judge Bloom on the Oneida County Circuit Court denied the temporary injunction filed against us late last week by the good ole' boys on the Oneida County Zoning Committee, who have now tried everything in the book to shut us down over the last three years.

Note that Judge Bloom was the judge that Gregg Walker/Matt Fernholz intentionally substituted in their defamation lawsuit, which ultimately landed us in wickedly-conservative Forest County Judge Leon Stenz's courtroom. Stenz then failed to dismiss that case years ago and allowed it to become the biggest defamation losses/mistrials in the state of Wisconsin--in one of the state's smallest county courts.

In Judge Bloom's blistering's denial of the county's injunction, he told Mike Fugle, Oneida County Corporate Counsel, that his attempt to shut us down in court failed to meet EVERY legal bar necessary to get an emergency injunction.

All 7 minutes of the hearing were an embarrassment to the county and an embarrassment to their attorney--who no doubt told the good ole' boys that this would be the likely legal outcome, but was nevertheless forced to go through it anyways.

After the brief hearing, in which my attorney Fred Melms subpoenaed the entire zoning committee and brought a witness willing to swear under oath that he heard many of them strategizing on how to inflict the most pain possible on my company by shutting us down during the busy tourism season, Fred and I had a beer.

Fred's next step is to file our own temporary injunction against the county to prohibit them from harassing us anymore while their ridiculous lawsuit to try to collect $28K in zoning citations works its way through court. If you want to read about why these citations are ridiculous, read my blog from a few months ago.

We anticipated that the county would do this and that's why we filed unsuccessfully for an injunction in federal court last March that tried to force the Town of Minocqua to give us the easement we needed so as not to be forced to violate the conditions of our county-issued conditional use permit to simply do business.

And sure enough, the county started harassing us the moment the Town of Minocqua stopped, and the Town ONLY stopped harassing us after I capitulated to their illegal quid pro quo and dropped our federal lawsuit against them in exchange for the needed easement.

Every one of these links above tells the story of how anyone living in my shoes over the last three years could have predicted what is happening to us now with 100% accuracy.

These guys aren't smart, but they are relentless, and they have all coordinated with each other--the town, the county, the newspaper, and their useful Judge Stenz--to silence my progressive voice in bright red Northern Wisconsin.

After we won our hearing, I went up to the Oneida County Board Chairman, Scott Holewinki, and asked him to meet with me. I wanted to look him in the eyes so I could make sure he wasn't just acting like a stubborn fool as opposed to actually knowing about the Town's attempts at extortion and willingly working in concert with them to shut me down.

Instead of agreeing to meet with me, he ran away--like most rats do when a light is shined in their general direction.

We know that the county zoning committee, lead by Scott Holewinski, will vote to shut us down this coming Thursday at their 1 pm meeting, but we refuse to take this beating without a fight.

They can't shut us down without a public hearing which allows public comments in front of the news media and the Minocqua Brewing Company's live Facebook social media feed (in case the rural news media screws up the story like they have in the past). For this reason, we need everybody that supports us living in or visiting Minocqua to come to this meeting and join us in protest before the meeting starts.

We protested last year in front of the Town of Minocqua's offices, but this year we gotta go to the courthouse in Rhinelander (as an aside, I don't think I'll be able to fit into that rainbow jumpsuit again this summer)

So here's what I'm asking you to do.

  1. Meet at the Minocqua Brewing Company Taproom at 11:00 am if you want to make a sign for the protest.
  2. We're all going to drive to Rhinelander at 11:30 am, giving us 45 minutes to get to the Oneida County Court House.
  3. At approximately 12:15 pm, we're going to protest this zoning meeting in which they intend to shut me down (again)--not for zoning violations, but because they simply want to hurt my company.
  4. At 12:50 pm, we'll go into the zoning meeting. Since they just told us they're going to limit my remarks to only 3 minutes, which is a violation of due process, I'll be giving many of you parts of the speech that I planned to give so my remarks makes it into the public record and can be used later when we sue them.  Please email back if you'd like to help me read my speech.

If you can't come to protest with us in person, then please keep emailing the county board and tell them how disgusted you are with their continued harassment of a successful small company that ads a heckuva lot to the local economy.  Here's the email addresses again.:


Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with the Minocqua Brewing Company. Help amplify our loud voice of truth that refuses to be silent in the face of bullying, extortion, and the gnashing of small-minded teeth.

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

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