Former Delavan bar owner, city settle suit?

Local News

A former Delavan bar owner reportedly will receive more than $100,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against the city and four City Council members.

John Martin, former owner of Johnny M’s Tavern, tells that an arbitration hearing was held Tuesday in Mankato to discuss a possible settlement.

Martin says he and his attorney met with former Mayor Kevin Walker, council members Christopher Kruse, Daniel C. Haugh and Max Abdo and their attorney.

I got screwed, I got robbed,” says Martin. “I was pressured into accepting it. I wasn’t going to wait another five months and continue to pay attorney fees.”

Under the tentative agreement, Martin says he will receive $100,000 plus a $9,000 security deposit he paid the city nearly 15 years ago.

I’m not getting a penny for loss of income, improvements I made at the bar, other expenses or the interest on the security deposit,” he says. “I easily got took out of at least $200,000.”

Martin says he expects the City Council will vote on the proposed settlement at their Nov. 14 council meeting.

According to court documents, a motion for summary judgment has been scheduled for Dec. 13 and a three-day court trial is still set to begin on March 8.

In December 2020, disagreement between the city and Martin surfaced over lease payments for a city-owned building where his bar was located. City officials also claimed he had violated ordinances during the 13 years he operated the bar.

Council members ultimately canceled the five-year lease, set to expire at the end of this year, on June 1, 2021. They also revoked his liquor license for allegedly not paying a monthly fee.

In his suit, Martin accuses the city of breaching its contract, violation of due process, not acting in good faith and passing a resolution in violation of its bylaws.

This past weekend, the bar was re-opened under new ownership and the name of Blu Bair.

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