Despite questions, council awards liquor license

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A local businessman received a liquor license transfer Monday despite questions from City Council members.

Council President Thomas Tafelski said he was concerned that Jason Wess, who plans to open the Last Call Lounge, 13736 Michigan Ave., is being used as a front for the previous owner, who allegedly was involved in illegal activities there.

Though police already had approved Wess’ request for a license, Tafelski reminded him that it is a “privilege,” and that the council would make its own decision. Members approved awarding the license in a unanimous vote.

The license that Wess was approved for allows dancing and for the sale of beer.

“The previous owner applied for a liquor license and was denied,” Tafelski said. “He ran it anyway.”

Police previously have found underage drinking and firearms at the bar, Tafelski said.

Wess, who also owns a construction company, said he has no connection to the previous owner, and that the bar will have security guards posted at the door and near cash registers to make sure drinkers are of legal age.

“I’m not going to tolerate any trouble in my bar,” he said, adding that he will run it as a family restaurant during the day and cater to adult customers after 7 p.m.

Tafelski said he believes Wess’ city-issued certificates are in order.

Wess told the council he will be the acting manager, and that his wife will be in charge when he’s not there, He said he has reduced his role at his construction company to about 10 percent in order to clear time for his new venture.

“I’ve got foremans who know what they’re doing,” Wess said, “If I have to worry about my construction business, it’s only for an hour or so to make sure my guys know what they’re doing.”

Tafelski said city officials will be making sure the bar is operating legally.

“There will be a lot of eyes on you,” he said.