State upholds liquor permit objections at Ketsy’s, Levels Lounge


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



LIMA — Both Ketsy’s and Levels Lounge are facing additional legal challenges after Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control upheld liquor permit objections initially filed by Lima City Council back in April.

Due to the city’s objections, the state agency scheduled hearings on Dec. 20 to review the reasons for the local decision, and further state investigations have since found enough evidence to support council’s actions.

The Division of Liquor Control listed a number of reasons for their ruling in a letter informing the city of the decision sent March 2. Both establishments were pegged as causing disruptions in the neighborhood as well as showing “disregard for the laws, regulations or local ordinances of the state.”

Some examples included in the rejection letter include marijuana use inside both establishments, underage drinking, violence, fights and weapons possessions.

In the Ketsy’s rejection letter, the division lists a number of incidents involving the lack of cooperation with bartenders when officers smelled marijuana in the building as well as a number of neighborhood disruptions.

“(Sgt. Nick Hart) indicated that there are more police calls to Ketsy’s than any other establishment in the City of Lima. It is also usual for all available officers on duty to respond when there are incidents at Ketsy’s. This leaves the rest of the city without police protection until the incident is over,” the letter reads.

Ketsy’s, owned by Entermuse Inc., also received an additional red flag due to its negative standing with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, which is responsible for business filings. According to the letter, Entermuse’s corporate charter was canceled in 2011 for failing to pay its franchise tax.

As for Levels Lounge, the letter states that the law enforcement began to respond to a “rapidly increasing number of calls for violent, criminal activity at 112 East North St.” beginning in 2018. Since then, Lima Police Department officers have encountered “highly-intoxicated” crowds — sometimes, underage drinkers — starting fights outside the building.

“Many of the incidents involved large fights, mainly in the parking lot between patrons, some of whom were highly intoxicated and/or carrying firearms,” the letter reads.

The division of liquor control also noted the legal steps undertaken by the City of Lima to try to shut down the violence. In January 2019, the city filed a nuisance action against Levels, and after February’s triple homicide at the location, the Allen County Courts agreed to shut down the business immediately.

Both permit holders have 30 days to appeal the division’s decision. Copies of both letters, including the lists of incidents noted by the state, can be found at limaohio.com.

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By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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