Jeramey Jannene

ELMNT Bar Wins Injunction, Can Reopen

60-day suspension for downtown nightclub delayed until at least March.

By - Dec 22nd, 2021 03:03 pm
ELMNT Lounge. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

ELMNT Lounge. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A prominent downtown nightclub might not be shuttered for 60 days after all.

ELMNT Lounge owner Habib Manjee won a court injunction Tuesday that will delay the suspension until at least March.

“We always felt strongly about our case, and the court confirmed our beliefs yesterday when it ordered the city to allow our client to continue to operate despite their 60-day suspension,” said attorney Michael Maistelman in an email.

The Common Council, on an 8-7 vote, imposed a 60-day suspension. At the center of the debate was a July 17 homicide that took place at a nearby intersection, but involved club patrons. A 24-year-old, Diamond Arberry, was killed.

The Milwaukee Police Department still has an open investigation. At a November license hearing, a department supervisor publicly revealed for the first time that the shooter was previously at the bar and never had his ID scanned.

According to a police report and social media accounts, patrons fighting inside ELMNT, 618 N. Water St., spilled out of the bar and made their way half a block south to the intersection of N. Water St. and E. Michigan St. Multiple shots were fired. At least one security guard from ELMNT was involved in what the area police captain, James Campbell, described as a “melee” and “sheer chaos.”

But Maistelman and attorney Emil Ovbiagele said the Milwaukee Police Department had officers on the scene and should have interceded earlier. The victim’s mother Lakia Thomas blames the police department, not the tavern.

Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd also blames the police. “Quite frankly, I’m sick of police making excuses for why they can’t do their job,” said the alderwoman when the Licenses Committee discussed the matter. “I’m tired of their excuses. They should have done their job that night. It’s sad. It’s ridiculous.”

ELMNT, formerly known as 618 Live on Water or The Ladybug Club, has had its license suspended for a total of 280 days going back to 2008. But in recent years it hasn’t had issues. “Except this year it basically got back to its old self,” said area Alderman Robert Bauman, who was the first to suggest the 60-day suspension.

Maistelman and attorney Vincent Bobot were successful in persuading Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Gwen Connolly to issue a restraining order, at least temporarily blocking the suspension. She ruled that Manjee’s MKE Water Street LLC met the burden of proof to proceed to trial. Assistant City Attorney Jack McNally is representing the city.

Maistelman, retained after the initial committee hearing, sought unsuccessfully on Dec. 14 before the full council to enter a video into the record. Obtained by Urban Milwaukee, the video is a cell phone recording of select portions of nightclub security camera footage.

A scheduling conference on the case is set for March 17.

For more on the homicide, nightclub and other incidents, see our Dec. 15 coverage.


One thought on “ELMNT Bar Wins Injunction, Can Reopen”

  1. Mingus says:

    Why are the police expected to clean up every mess that comes from out of control bar patrons? Persons drinking easily get out of control and trouble often starts. Bars need to do a better job of maintaining order.

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