Carbondale commission votes to not renew Pony's liquor license

Carbonale commission votes to not renew Pony's liquor license

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Carbondale, Illinois city commission voted on Monday night, June 22 to not renew the liquor license for the Pony Cabaret and Steakhouse.

That is according to City Manager Kevin Baity. He said the commission vote was 3 to renew and 4 to not renew.

Jerry Westlund, the owner, was also at the meeting.

Westlund said he was completely surprised and upset when he heard the news, and said he's going to fight to get his license back.

“I was shocked, that in 2015 a city council would tell me that we're going to take your business away from you, simply because we don't like your entertainment," Westlund said.

One resident said it's a smart move.

"For the time being, I think it's a very good step to send a message that Carbondale wants to improve its downtown, not destroy it," Carbondale resident, Charlie Howe said.

But other folks said they felt Westlund was compiling with the city ordinance, and should've been able to keep the liquor license.

Concerns were raised on whether the place was an adult business.

City manager, Kevin Baity said it was not a matter of the kind of business Westlund was running.

"We have not attempted to classify him as an adult use business in this whole process," Baity said. "It's a matter of do you have a license, are you eligible to obtain a license, and that's where we're coming at it from."

"I'm still stunned and I look forward to see how the courts are going to handle this," Westlund said.

City leaders say if more issues do arise, they will take action also.

"If sometimes in the future, he continues to operate, and he continues to have concerns, and or build a case, then those are areas that we will have to go after and investigate as well," Baity said.

Westlund had the license because he had it transferred to him when he bought the old bar building in Carbondale that he put opened The Pony in.

Earlier in June, city leaders discussed pulling the liquor license, but put the issue on hold so that the council could look at some documents they needed to make the decision.

His license expires on June 30.

City leaders say if an appeal is filed by Westlund, he will still be able to operate as usual, past the June 30 deadline.

It is because the license is in dispute that he gets to keep operating while the appeal is ongoing. 

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