City of Cincinnati files lawsuit to temporarily close Galla Park; bar responds

Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 10:03 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The City of Cincinnati filed a lawsuit Tuesday to shut down Galla Park for a full year.

The lawsuit cites occasions when employees served alcohol to minors and drunk patrons fighting in the streets.

The City’s lawsuit says not only does Galla Park operate without following liquor laws, but is a source of drunken disorder.

“The City has worked very hard with the proprietor’s owners to get the problem under control, and it hasn’t happened,” says Cincinnati Council Member David Mann.

The City of Cincinnati says in a statement, “The City filed this lawsuit in response to Galla Park’s persistent and flagrant violation of liquor laws, including several occasions where patrons were overserved that resulted in unsafe situations for the patrons and other members of the public.”

On one occasion, an employee took an unconscious person outside and left them on the pavement, according to the lawsuit.

The employee told a responding officer he was doing so at the instruction of the bar’s owner, Michael Mercer, the lawsuit reads.

“Liquor licenses are not a right, it’s a privilege granted by the state,” says Mann. “And the city has a lot to say about whether liquor licenses should be renewed. Our police have worked a lot with these owners, I know, and compliance hasn’t been achieved. So, we don’t have any choice.”

The lawsuit requests Galla Park be shut down for one year and secure the property with padlocks.

Galla Park issued the following statement on Facebook Wednesday afternoon:

“Galla Park would like to acknowledge the lawsuit filed by the City of Cincinnati on Tuesday April 6th. We take full responsibility for any and all reported circumstances within our control. We intend on, and always have been prideful on being a good tenant, neighbor, & providing a safe environment for our guests in the Downtown Cincinnati area.

“2020 and the beginning of 2021 has been a challenging time with no exceptions for anyone operationally. Our intent is to rectify all claims from the city, and to provide a safe, casual, & fun environment for our guests and neighbors. We will continue to, and will be aggressively working with city leaders & officials during this process to make any and all necessary changes to grow, be better, & build our community bonds within the city.”

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