The owner of a Downtown banquet hall and event space has voluntarily forfeited her cabaret license in the aftermath of gun violence that left one man dead and others injured in the early morning hours of Nov. 7.
The decision ended plans for a hearing on the issue that was to have taken place before the Kenosha City Council’s License and Permit Committee on Monday.
Shel Parham, owner of The Vault Banquet Hall & Event Venue at 625 57th St., voluntary surrendered the license for live public entertainment about an hour before the committee was to meet, according to City Administrator John Morrissey.
The city, in turn, is withdrawing its complaint, which had been submitted by Kenosha police to the mayor’s office earlier this month.
“She (Parham) contacted the city attorney’s office (Monday afternoon) indicating that instead of going through a public hearing she intended to voluntarily surrender the cabaret license for The Vault,” Morrissey said.
“The Vault came to agreement with the deputy city attorney and continues to operate as normal,” Parham said in a statement to the Kenosha News. “We look forward to working with our city leaders, community and Downtown business neighbors as we work to unify this great city.”
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Fatal shooting sparked complaints
The forfeiture comes a week after Mayor John Antaramian announced that the venue was facing a suspension and the city had temporarily withdrawn the license, with the committee prepared to address complaints that had arisen about fatal gun violence that erupted in Downtown outside the building two weeks ago.
The venue had played host to a Nov. 6 concert with heavy security that continued into the early morning hours of Nov. 7. Shortly before 2 a.m., dozens of gunshots outside the banquet hall resulted in the shooting death of a Kenosha man. Marquis Wallace, 28, died at the scene and three others also suffered injuries and were treated at local hospitals, according to police.
Police collected more than 70 spent rounds of evidence throughout several city blocks. According to investigators, a chaotic scene resulted in dozens of officers from multiple surrounding law enforcement agencies to respond for crowd control.
Several people showed up at the city’s Municipal Building Monday afternoon ready to speak at the committee meeting only to learn the hearing had been cancelled. Shortly afterward, Parham posted on the Vault’s Facebook page she had surrendered the license out of safety concerns.
Parham had already canceled all live music events “for the foreseeable future” the day after the shootings occurred. She posted the following:
“The safety and well-being of our community and Downtown business neighbors has always been top priority for The Vault. As a result of recent discussions with the Deputy City Attorney of Kenosha and subsequent agreement, The Vault has decided to forfeit its cabaret license.
“We have played host to over 170 events in just 13 months since opening. As we continue positive dialogue with city leaders, neighbors, business partners and our community going forward, The Vault looks forward to furthering our mission and remains committed to providing a safe, welcoming event space for everyone.”
Parham thanked patrons for their “overwhelming support” and others who have continued to back the event space. All currently scheduled events at The Vault would continue as planned, she said.
What can still take place
Morrissey said The Vault would no longer be able to hold live entertainment events open to the public, such as that of the Nov. 6 concert.
“She still has a liquor license and she can still continue to have weddings and (private) events like that,” Morrissey said. “A wedding could have live entertainment or a DJ, but it can’t be an event open to the general public where they charge for (admission).”
An event, such as the popular Public Market, a year-round market that plays host to multiple vendors of fresh produce, artisan foods, crafts and other items, can continue operating at The Vault, according to Morrissey.
“Again, that’s not a cabaret type of issue,” he said of the market. which meets indoors for the winter from November to April. However, if a vendor or the market wanted to apply for a single-day cabaret license they could, he said.
Kenosha Public Market at The Vault (collection)