Sophie Bolich

Infinity Lounge Can Stay Open Pending Lawsuit

Court issues temporary injunction for tavern and hookah lounge on 40th and Fond du Lac.

By - Apr 5th, 2023 05:16 pm

The Infinity Lounge. Photo by Angeline Terry.

A lawsuit has provided a reprieve — at least temporarily — for Infinity Lounge amid a 60-day suspension issued last month by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The tavern and hookah lounge, 4001 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., which had already been closed for several weeks due to license expiration, was to remain closed until May 20, based on a six-item police report that included complaints of excessive noise, violence, litter and alleged strippers. But tavern owner Mario Spencer sued, and secured a temporary injunction Wednesday that will allow the business to continue operating for now.

“We were not surprised that the court issued the injunction to allow our client to immediately reopen,” said Attorney Michael Maistelman, who represents Spencer in the pending lawsuit. “Both the facts and the law are on our side.”

A lawsuit appealing the council’s decision was submitted Monday and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Gwen Connolly granted a temporary injunction Wednesday.

Online court records do not yet list a date for an upcoming hearing.

The council meeting that led to the suspension was a contentious one, with several members raising alarms about the possibility of a lawsuit, due to the council’s recent struggles to defend its decisions in court.

Infinity Lounge opened in March 2022 in the Sherman Park neighborhood, where it operated as a tavern and entertainment premises. The business also held a food dealers license.

The tavern has been the site of several incidents throughout the past year. A police report presented at a March 7 renewal hearing detailed two instances of a subject with a gun. One patron reported a firearm stolen from his vehicle when it was parked close to the establishment.

Lydia Melton, a neighbor of the business, appeared at the hearing to give testimony that the tavern has been problematic, and raised particular issues with litter, noise, public urination next to her house, cars driving on sidewalks and illegal parking.

Alderman Khalif Rainey initially supported a 60-day suspension at the March 7 hearing, but changed his course at the full council meeting, suggesting a 10-day suspension instead. He backed away from that proposal, however, after Alderman Mark Borkowski and other colleagues shared their support for the full 60 days.

“My decision to amend the application of the suspension was based on the advice from a legal attorney, our city attorney,” Ald. Rainey said. “They’re telling me that they’re not certain how defendable this is, they don’t know if it has demonstrated the progression needed.”

“I’m just tired of these things going to court and getting overturned,” added Alderman José G. Pérez. “And I don’t think that it’s fair to our constituents.”

When prompted, Assistant City Attorney Christopher Jackson affirmed that he can defend the 60-day suspension in court, based on the police report, neighborhood testimony and video evidence.

“We will defend any decision that this committee makes,” he said.

Until then, Infinity Lounge will operate as usual. The tavern’s hours vary, and are typically updated via daily social media posts.

Jeramey Jannene contributed to this report

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