Nerneys regain liquor license |

Nerneys regain liquor license

Council approves privileges for former bar owner's wife

Brandon Gee

Kathy Nerney listens as Steamboat Springs City Council members respond to her questioning of a condition in the new liquor license for the Jade Summit and Pirate's Pub businesses she runs with her husband, Kevin Nerney. The provision forbids Kevin Nerney from being present at either establishment during business hours.

— After more than three months in liquor-less limbo, the Jade Summit restaurant and its upstairs bar, Pirate’s Pub, has its license to serve alcohol in time to capture a few more weeks of ski season business.

The Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the city’s Liquor License Authority, unanimously approved Kathy Nerney’s application for a liquor license Tuesday. The license, however, comes with a major restriction: Kevin Nerney, Kathy’s husband and the original business owner and license holder, is not permitted on the premises during business hours.

The condition led to a heated back-and-forth between Kathy Nerney and City Council President Loui Antonucci. Kevin Nerney and his attorney, Kris Hammond, watched silently from the audience.

Kathy Nerney said she was blindsided by the condition, which she did not learn about until reading an article in Tuesday’s Steamboat Today. Antonucci said the condition was necessary to honor the determination of the previous City Council, which revoked Kevin Nerney’s license for the business Nov. 8 in response to allegations that he made unlawful sexual contact with a patron at his bar in February 2007.

“I don’t think it’s this council’s intent to antagonize you or your husband,” Antonucci said. “I choose and this council chooses not to revisit that. We found him not to be of good moral character. That was the outcome of the case.”

Kevin Nerney was cleared of the charges in criminal court in August, but the previous City Council, acting as the city’s Liquor License Authority, held its own hearings and decided that Kevin Nerney violated state liquor codes.

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With a copy of John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man” in her hands, Kathy Nerney vilified City Council for actions she said amount to “malice, harassment and prejudice.” She particularly criticized Antonucci, who was on a previously planned vacation and missed the Nov. 8 hearing at which Kevin Nerney’s license was permanently revoked.

“That’s the part that hurt me and my family the most,” Kathy Nerney said. “You used to be a bar owner, Loui. More than anyone else here, you knew how much this meant to us.”

At one point, Kathy Nerney said she would not accept the license because it would amount to an admission of Kevin Nerney’s guilt and because she could not run the business by herself. She changed her mind after a consultation with Hammond.

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