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The Heat Is Turned Up On Racine Mayor John Dickert, Accused Of Racketeering In Lawsuit

February 27, 2014

It may be frigid outside but I suspect the temperature is rising fast in the corridors of Racine City Hall.

The complaint filed by the owners of six former Racine bars alleges that Mayor John Dickert, and more than a dozen current and former officials, engaged in a concerted effort to close minority bars, depriving the bar owners of their civil rights.

In its 50 pages, the lawsuit alleges an elaborate plot to pull licenses from minority-owned bars, accusing Dickert of accepting illegal campaign contributions from members of the mostly white Racine City Tavern League, then conspiring with the Public Safety and Licensing Committee, the Downtown Business Improvement District, and Racine Police Department officials to “prevent minority bar owners from obtaining and/or maintaining their liquor licenses.”

The effort, according to the lawsuit, ensured that white bar owners kept their liquor licenses, protecting them from the alleged excessive police and committee scrutiny experienced by minority bar owners, and giving them access to the limited number of liquor licenses available in Racine.

Such targeting of minority-owned establishments and their minority patrons constituted “a pattern and practice of discriminatory treatment on the basis of race” depriving the plaintiffs of their right to equal protection under the law, as well as their right to equal privileges and immunities, the lawsuit claims.

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