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Former Racine tavern owners file federal civil rights lawsuit

RACINE, WI (WTAQ) - The owners of six former taverns in Racine filed suit Wednesday morning, alleging a conspiracy which successfully drove them out of business.

The plaintiffs filed a 50 page lawsuit in federal court in Milwaukee. They claimed their civil rights were violated, as the city allegedly conspired to drive minority bar owners out of business since 2006 -- and penalize white-owned bars that attract larger numbers of minority customers.

Current and present Racine mayors and city council members were named as defendants along with an ex-police chief, Racine's Tavern League, and two business groups.

The lawsuit alleges that the city kept minority bar owners from getting or renewing city licenses, and rewarding the Tavern League's white members with the surrendered liquor licenses or top city positions.

The suit also accused current Racine Mayor John Dickert of taking illegal financial contributions from the tavern group. As of mid-morning, the city said it was not served with the lawsuit.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)