By Shereen Siewert

Following hours of testimony Monday, Wausau’s Public Health and Safety Committee recommended the a west-side tavern owner’s license be revoked for maintaining a “disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper” establishment with multiple fights and gun-related incidents.

City officials say the tavern drew nearly two dozen police calls since 2019, several of which were outlined in a formal complaint issued April 16 by Wausau Police Capt. Todd Baeten. Of those, at least five involved weapons and at least 15 involved fights. Some of the testimony also centered on noise complaints. The city also accused the bar management of not calling police in a timely manner when issues arise.

Roc’s Place owner, Tim Nawrocki, vehemently denied the allegations outlined in Baeten’s complaint and said his bartenders know who is “bad” and who is not and said he prefers to hire “colored” security guards because “they should relate more to the colored people that come in my bar.”

“That didn’t seem to work very well either,” said Nawrocki, adding that he would consider hiring an outside security firm for future work. “Things took a turn for the worse lately…I don’t know if it’s from the COVID or what…it seems like every security person I’ve gotten I’ve had issues with.”

The decision to revoke the license for Roc’s Place, 810 S. Third Ave., is subject to full council approval. A final decision is expected May 25.

Officers who testified on Monday pointed to several incidents outlined in Baeten’s complaint, some of which involved fights and guns. In one Feb. 20 call, Nawrocki and his employees allegedly failed to cooperate with an investigation involving a fight and a handgun, first by failing to report the incident and then omitting about 90 minutes of surveillance video. In that instance, the video was later recovered, revealing a fight and a convicted felon carrying a firearm, according to incident reports.

Wausau Police Officer Mason Hagenbucher testifies during a May 17, 2021 hearing on revoking a west-side tavern’s liquor license

Nawrocki had previously come before the committee during a June 15 meeting for a “formal expression of concern.”

After a closed session meeting, the committee found the city had met its burden of proof in the matter and recommended the license be revoked.

The full city council meets on May 25 at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau. See the full complaint here.