The Captain Wohlt Inn could lose its business license by the end of next week if Hermann wins its latest legal action against the Bed & Breafast operation and acts swiftly on the court’s decision.
20th Circuit Court Judge Craig Hellmann by the end of next week could issue his decision in City Hall’s effort to win a contempt of court ruling against Brant Wilkins, operator of Captain Wohlt Inn on East 3rd Street.
Hellmann conducted a hearing Friday afternoon which ended with City Attorney David Politte and defense attorney Ronald R. Kwentus Jr. were directed to present final documents for consideration ahead of a ruling. Politte was to have his documents filed with the court by this Friday while Kwentus said he would need only four days to respond.
Hellmann conceivably could issue his ruling as early as Friday, Aug. 31.
City Hall claims that Wilkins has violated a portion of the agreement reached in mid-May regarding what the city alleged were commercial activities at the B&B. Those activities are disruptive to the atmospher of the residential neighborhood, city officials argued.
The city is asking the court to find Wilkins in contempt of the agreement by leaving outdoor lights burning past the agreed-upon shut-off time and for Facebook postings that amount to advertising to the general public to visit Captain Wohlt Inn to view its garden and listen to live music.
Politte did note that the city is no longer asking the court to authorize Gasconade County Sheriff John Romanus to padlock Wilkins’ properties until he has paid the city’s legal fees.
City Hall is asking for authority to revoke the B&B’s business license for the violations and for Wilkins to pay the city’s attorneys fees in this case.
The afternoon’s hearing lasted about two hours and featured Mayor Robert Koerber and Wilkins taking a turn on the witness stand.
Wilkins’ defense appears to center around the period of time that he was aware of the city’s pending legal action and how that time period relates to the number of violations occurring outside a 30-day warning period.
Wilkins disputed that he received a warning letter from the city. “I did not,” he said when asked by Kwentus.
According to testimony, after the 30-day period covered in the city’s letter, there was only one violation of the agreement. During his time on the stand, the mayor presented a long list of dates that he observed the B&B’s outdoor lights shining past the shut-off time.
Hellmann appeared taken by surprise that the city would seek authority to revoke the business license after a single violation outside the 30-day period.
“He can’t legally operate his business legally without having a business license, can he?” the judge asked.
“No,” the mayor said.
“Have there been any other violations?” the judge asked.
“No, sir,” the mayor said.
But Politte, in his closing argument, said the city believes it was the latest legal action that ended the alleged violations. “Our position is that but for the filing” Wilkins would have continued to violate the agreement, the city attorney said.