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Mar. 10, 2006 Duluth News-Tribune article on the Kozy Bar, Duluth, MN, part 1.

"Council Wants Answers," continued ...

Mar. 10, 2006 Duluth News-Tribune article on the Kozy Bar, Duluth, MN, part 2.

Source: Duluth News-Tribune, Tuesday, March 14, 2006

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Get promises in writing
Source: Budgeteer News columnist Ralph Doty, Mar. 17, 2006

We might know as early as Thursday whether the Duluth City Council is inclined to approve the transfer of a liquor license to Temple Corporation, owned by Eric Ringsred, so he can operate the controversial Kozy Bar on East First Street. On March 23 at 4:45 p.m., the City Council will meet with Ringsred and police officials familiar with past problems at the bar.

Ringsred does not own the building housing the drinking establishment. He would just operate the bar. Some folks are saying that any liquor license owner would be better than the current one. Others wonder who would run the day-to-day operations of the drinking establishment if Dr. Ringsred continues his practice as an emergency room physician.

As council members mull over Ringsred's request, here's a suggestion: Set up written criteria for him to follow on any promises he makes in exchange for getting the license.

And there is another reason to prepare written criteria for Ringsred: When he doesn't get his way, he often goes to court, regardless of the merits of his case, usually serving as his own legal counsel. Remember his lawsuit against the Tech Village? Or the one against the Home Depot site on the Miller Trunk corridor? Or his lawsuit against the Chester Park battered women's shelter, which the court dismissed because contrary to Ringsred's argument the city properly issued permits for the shelter. That was the lawsuit in which Ringsred improperly served as the legal representative for disaffected Chester Park residents without having a license to practice law.

Then there was Ringsred's most recent lawsuit, against a developer who talked tentatively about redeveloping a portion of Old Downtown on Superior Street to make way for new enterprises. The case was thrown out when the court ruled that because the developer had not yet formally proposed anything on the project, Ringsred had no legal standing because one cannot sue over "ideas."

In 2000, Ringsred, after failing in state court to stop the demolition of buildings to make way for the Tech Village project, filed a new lawsuit in a federal court, alleging that city officials, including most city attorney staff members, conspired with others to deprive him of his due process rights. That was the lawsuit in which Ringsred named his wife and children as plaintiffs because, he claimed, his Tech Village lawsuit took so much time from his family that they suffered harm.

A federal court judge dismissed his suit, saying Ringsred could not come to a federal court because he was disappointed with a state court's decision. Ringsred then went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which quickly refused to hear his appeal.

Has anyone tabulated how much taxpayers' money has been wasted defending the city against so many trivial lawsuits?

In summary, in working with Eric Ringsred, it might be advisable for the city council to get things in writing. In President Ronald Reagan's words, "Trust, but verify."

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