It has been more than two years since Jacob Banas, owner of the August Weber Haus in Cedarburg, was accused of drugging female patrons of the restaurant and taking photos of them while they were unconscious.
Last September, Banas was sentenced to 45 days in prison and two years probation for obstructing police in a May 2014 incident separate from the police raid on his home two months later in a search of evidence for the drugging accusations. Both incidents fall on a timeline of criminal activity for Banas that goes back as far as 2002.
Last week, the saga continued for Banas and the August Weber Haus when a concerned citizen presented a petition to the Cedarburg Common Council to revoke the liquor license of the restaurant. Patrick Manner, owner of Crossfit Unbroken, brought the petition to the council's attention less because of Banas' sordid past, but more from the viewpoint of a business owner in the community. Manner believes that with its limited operating hours, the August Weber Haus is preventing other potential restaurant owners from obtaining a much sought-after liquor license.
"I don't care as much about what this guy did in the past because it's in the past," said Manner. "What I do care about is business. As a small business owner, I don't think it's fair that he still gets to keep his license even though his place is almost never open."
According to Manner, the limited hours of the August Weber Haus stem from Banas knowing that local residents are avoiding the restaurant, and that operating hours only increase during festival seasons when uninformed visitors from out of town are more prevalent.
While he may not be in the business of bars or restaurants, Manner understands firsthand the difficulties that go into starting and owning a business. When he first opened Crossfit Unbroken, Manner dealt with difficulties regarding zoning and work permits for his gym.
"It didn't help that we were the first crossfit gym in Cedarburg, so there was a lack of familiarity," said Manner.
With those experiences in mind, he recognizes how difficult it can be to start a business in Cedarburg, especially when it comes to obtaining a liquor license.
"A liquor license is an honor, not a privilege," said Manner. "Businesses that receive it should be positive reflections of the community, and that is not what the August Weber Haus is anymore."
Banas and the August Weber Haus could not be reached for comment.