Panel to decide fate of Wyoming bar

Posted at 12:51 AM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 00:51:51-04

WYOMING, Mich-- A panel will help decide whether or not a Wyoming bar has a future. The city of Wyoming suspended Cocktailz Bar and Grill's license over concerns of disorderly conduct and recurring crime after police went to city leaders.

The city commission formed a three person panel to decide whether the bar's business license should be revoked.

FOX 17 spoke with the attorney representing the owner of the bar and a couple of former employees.

We were told the owner of Cocktailz, Katie Guy, is devastated. Guy's lawyer, Bob VanderLaan, told FOX 17 that there has been no violence at Cocktailz since Guy took over the bar from her ex-husband earlier this year.

"Anything that happened before January 5, 2016, happened on someone else's watch, not Katie's watch," VanderLaan said.

But employees told us that despite the new ownership, things aren't getting fixed. "I think it’s gone a little too far," said Karrie Maurer, the bar's former manager. "I think the bar needs a huge change or, if somebody can’t change it, it needs to get shut down."

Maurer says before she quit her job she did everything she could to make the bar safe, from changing the music they played to increasing security. She and Wyoming police say the new owner isn't doing that.

"We have met with the owner and management," said Capt. Kim Koster. "We've given them constructive ideas on how to improve security, how to make it a safe place. We've continued to work with management, but we don't seem to be getting anywhere."

VanderLaan says that's not the case.

"Katie is addressing those problems, has addressed those problems, [and] will continue to address those problems, but [the bar] should stay open because the neighborhood deserves to have a cocktail bar," he said, adding that police haven't reached out to Guy until late last month.

The mayor and two other council members will discuss the circumstances and ultimately decide whether the bar's license needs to be revoked.

The date for that hearing has not yet been scheduled.