Wichita City Council revokes bar owner’s liquor license

In an emotional and contentious vote, Wichita City Council members today voted 4-3 to revoke liquor licenses from both Doobley’s bars — one at 767 N. West St., the other at 2415 W. 31st Street South.

Bar owner Robert Crandell said the move will likely kill his business. But his attorney, Jim Thompson, said he’ll file for a temporary injunction in district court that would allow the bar to stay open until the revocation is appealed in district court.

The revocation followed about two hours of testimony from police, city lawyers, Crandell and Thompson. The city argued that Crandell lied to police about what he knew after someone stomped on the head of an intoxicated patron in the Doobley’s parking lot on West Street in the early morning hours of June, 1, 2010. The victim barely survived. A suspect was charged with attempted homicide and later pleaded guilty to aggravated battery.

Crandell pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice in district court, but he said that was only because he couldn’t afford a legal battle and didn’t think it would lead to the revocation of his liquor license. Crandell said he did not provide false statements to police.

Council members Michael O’Donnell, Pete Meitzner and James Clendenin opposed the revocation, although Meitzner said he would support fining Crandell up to $500. O’Donnell said the city’s policy on bar licensing and revocation is “irrational” because it allowed Crandell to get a liquor license after police accused him of providing false statements. Mayor Carl Brewer then asked O’Donnell to stick to the issues at hand — not the city’s overall policy. O’Donnell later started a comment, saying “at risk of being chastised by the mayor…” Brewer responded, saying he wasn’t chastising O’Donnell.