Beets complaint dismissed
Roseville city manager cleared of criminal allegations
Jon Lentz, Roseville Review
March 28, 2006
Roseville City Manager Neal Beets has been cleared of any criminal misconduct in reducing the penalties of three liquor establishments caught selling alcohol to minors during a compliance check last summer.
“I’ve made the decision not to issue any charges,” said Steve Tallen, the city attorney for Maple Grove. “That part is decided and over.”
The complaint was investigated by the Maple Grove Police Department and reviewed by Tallen to avoid a conflict of interest, since Beets oversees Roseville city employees.
Beets declined to comment on the decision to dismiss the criminal allegations.
The investigation was prompted by a criminal complaint filed in January by former Roseville mayor John Kysylyczyn, who alleged the city manager overstepped his authority in holding hearings for Old Chicago, Green Mill, and the Roseville VFW Post No. 7555 and staying the one-day suspensions for each of them.
Roseville City Attorney Jay Squires said the results of the criminal investigation are private because the information includes active civil investigative data as well as private personnel data.
He declined to comment on the details of the complaint and the reasons for dismissing it.
“I can’t comment on those questions, because they really do relate to the issue at hand,” Squires said.
The City Council could still choose to meet in a closed session to discuss acting on the civil investigative data, Squires said. The classification of civil data would end “when the attorney for the city — that would be me — determines that no further action is warranted,” he said.
The information would still be kept private since it includes personnel data, Squires said, but in the case of any disciplinary action it would be made public.
“I was glad to see that outcome,” Roseville Mayor Craig Klausing said of the decision not to pursue criminal charges. “I did not think that (Beets) had done anything criminal. Obviously it was up to (Maple Grove) to review.”
Klausing noted that the council was planning to discuss how it reviews penalties for liquor establishments, including whether to delegate its authority to hold hearings and when suspending a liquor license is warranted.
“We have on for Monday an agenda item to talk about how we want to handle these appeals,” he said last week. “I think that’s the real issue.”
According to Kysylyczyn’s Jan. 19 complaint, the city’s liquor ordinance specifically designates the City Council to hear appeals of the penalties.
Squires wouldn’t comment on the specific case, but said that in general “state law really gives the city discretion and flexibility in determining how to administer the licensing process and deal with violations.”
In letters to the three liquor establishments last year, Beets cited their understanding the seriousness of the offense as a reason for reducing the penalties.
He also required that each of the three begin participating in the city’s optional server training program, pay the $500 fine, and — excluding the VFW — give $500 to a charity.
Kysylyczyn first brought his concerns to the council at a Jan. 9 meeting. The issue was put on the Jan. 23 agenda, but was pulled after Kysylyczyn filed the criminal complaint.
A staff report written by Beets for the Jan. 23 agenda item explains that penalty appeals had been referred to the city manager by a letter before he took the position.
“Pursuant to this letter, I have heard 5-10 liquor appeals,” Beets wrote in the report. The report presents the council the choice of hearing and deciding all appeals or making the city manager the council’s designee to hear the appeals.
Maple Grove Police Sgt. Trenton MacDonald, who investigated the allegations, delivered a six-page report to Tallen’s office on March 8. Tallen said he notified the city of Roseville, the Roseville Police Department and Roseville’s city attorney of his decision around the middle of March.
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