Potential Fines Prompt Bar Owner to Cancel Monday Openings
ALBANY -- The owner of six central Minnesota bars says he won't be opening them at noon on Monday as he had planned. Kris Schiffler posted a video statement on his Facebook page saying he received a call from the Minnesota Attorney Generals Office indicating he could face a fine of up to $25,000 a day per location if he opened in defiance of the Governor's Executive Order.
He says he's fighting a fight that he never thought he'd have to fight.
Because of this, dozens of Minnesota House GOP lawmakers have written a letter to Attorney General Keith Ellison asking if his office is indeed threatening "non-essential" business owners with fines if they re-open prior to June 1.
The letter notes: "at a time when the federal government is trying desperately to help our businesses, it appears our Attorney General's office is threatening to keep them down. If true, that is certainly within your jurisdiction. And as state lawmakers, it is also within our jurisdiction to keep tabs on the fines you place on the rural business owners who are facing bankruptcy, and to remember that amount the next time we are setting a budget for the Attorney General's Office."
Schiffler says he's now waiting for the Governor's recommendations for bars to open which is supposed to come out on Wednesday. He says once he gets those recommendations he could try to open on Wednesday, and still not wait until Monday, June 1st.
Schiffler has also launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to file a lawsuit against the state and take the closure of bars and restaurants to the Minnesota Supreme Court. He says in Wisconsin it took nine days to get their lawsuit to their Supreme Court and he's hoping to get it done in Minnesota sooner. He says his lawyer told him it would take $100,000 to build the case to open. As of Sunday morning, the GoFundMe page had already raised the money needed.