Popular Hermantown Bar Closed Pending Investigation

By KBJR News 1

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM CDT

Hermantown, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- A popular bar in Hermantown has been closed following a tax delinquency investigation. The Beacon Restaurant and Lounge is accused of buying off–sale liquor and selling it at their bar.

LeAnn Wallace reports.

It started as a call to police regarding a landlord/tenant dispute. But it escalated to police involvement and then a tax investigation.

Online reviews like "Great menu and atmosphere" or "Friendly clean bar and wait staff" are usually good news for a restaurant and bar.

But when a business is forced to shut down, with a pending tax delinquency investigation, those words of support don't mean much.

"We're currently investigating it and through some admissions from the operator of the bar, we determined that the tavern should be shut down for a little bit at least until we can determine what's going on," said Deputy Police Chief Shawn Padden.

When Hermantown Police got to the bar Saturday night, they found the landlord changing the locks on the bar.

"The allegation is that the person running the bar was buying alcohol from other off sale establishments due to apparently being on a tax delinquent list," said Padden.

The Beacon is currently on the Minnesota Department of Revenue's list of liquor, wine and beer sales tax delinquencies. Being on that list prohibits distributors from selling to that establishment.

The closure has left many local patrons in the dark, but also entire softball teams who were just days away from starting their leagues at the Beacon Bar.

"There's rumors galore that there is no Beacon anymore, that there's closed doors, taxes what have you, there isn't going to be a league. So I called the guy who ran the league to confirm and unfortunately that was true," said Brian Prudhomme.

"From the few people I have talked to about it, they're bummed about it, but they're more mad about it than anything. Some people have paid their fees and everything already, money that they're probably not going to get back," said Brandon Nusse.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting Hermantown Police in this investigation.

Hermantown Police say they have not had a lot of police calls or problems at that bar in the past.