Fargo Liquor Control Board recommends extending nightclub’s liquor license suspension
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – In a four to one vote, the Fargo Liquor Control Board recommends City Commissioners extend Africa International Restaurant and Nightclub’s liquor license suspension for another 30 days.
That time is to be used by the club to get new management in place and turn things around.
One of the biggest changes the club is implementing is bringing on co-owner Mballu Brown as general manager.
“I decided to be the manager because I want things to run right. I’ve never been in trouble, and when it comes to problems, I don’t like it,” Mballu said Wednesday. “So, this is why I decided to be the manager and make sure everything goes right.”
Brown is a nurse with no restaurant management experience, raising concerns for some Liquor Control Board members.
“I know you want this to work but I don’t have a level of confidence that I’m comfortable with that you’re able to step into a manager position without having some experience of management in the past,” said board member Kay Schwarzwalter.
Part of the agreement is for Brown to shadow a manager during the 30-day suspension to gain experience.
“The Police Department today still strongly recommends denial of licensure to these individuals,” Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski said during the meeting.
Zibolski says his recommendation to not reinstate the liquor license is based on what he claims is false information presented on the application and public safety concerns.
Africa International’s recently hired attorneys say Zibolski is nitpicking.
“I question whether everybody else goes under the same scrutiny as the Africa Cafe is under right now. I know evidence has been provided to you guys showing different bars in town, some that have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 complaints since the first of the year, some between 100 and 200, which all exceed what the Africa Cafe has done, so we’re asking that they be treated the same,” said attorney Brett Brudvik.
In response to that, board member Robert Nelson replied, “The problems are serious. We’re talking about overserving, we’re talking about guns, we’re talking about weapons, fights, all sorts of things.”
City Commissioners will meet on Monday to consider the liquor license reapplication.