Bar Fight

Two troubled businesses, one big financial mess

The difficulties at Whiskey Junction have been further exacerbated by the financial turmoil of the Waags' other business, Lucky's Garage. Last month Hennepin County District Court Judge Heidi Schellhas issued an order granting Associated Bank "immediate possession of all assets" controlled by Lucky's Garage, and placed the business in receivership. The reason: The motorcycle shop had failed to make payments on a $600,000 loan taken out last August. This effectively shut the business down.

The list of other individuals and businesses that claim Lucky's Garage still owes them money is lengthy. Larry Lautenbach filed a lawsuit last month in Hennepin County District Court against the motorcycle shop and Roal Waag for breach of contract. He alleges in the suit that the store took his 2003 Borget motorcycle on consignment and sold it for $22,500. However, he claims that a pair of $10,000 checks given to him in February by the store both bounced. Subsequent attempts to collect the money owed him have been unsuccessful.

A pair of search warrants executed last month by the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force describe similar treatment of two other Lucky's customers. On June 7, according to the warrants, Minneapolis resident Trenton Fields filed a police report stating that he'd turned over his 2000 Harley Davidson Electric Glide Classic to Lucky's on consignment and that Freeman-Waag had given him a check for $11,000. The check, however, bounced. Then on June 13, Maple Grove resident Peter Daszkiewicz reported to the Minneapolis Police Department that he'd sold his 2000 Harley for $13,000 through Lucky's Garage. Repeated attempts to collect the money proved futile. Finally, KSTP-TV (Channel 5) reported last month that Karl Stocker, a member of the Minnesota National Guard, allegedly paid Lucky's $3,750 for motorcycle repair work that was never performed.

There are outstanding business debts as well. Merx City, a company that produces promotional products, has sued Lucky's Garage and the Waags in Hennepin County District Court. The company is seeking just over $4,000 in unpaid bills. "They just sort of stopped cooperating with us in any form whatsoever," says Joseph Capistrant, the attorney representing Merx City. "We've tried to garnish bank accounts and it came back with them saying there were no funds available to garnish." In addition, according to Hennepin County property records, roughly $32,000 in property taxes is owed on 815 Cedar Avenue South, the site of Lucky's Garage.

Freeman-Waag says that as of last week, the motorcycle shop had been sold to new owners. She insists that all outstanding debts will be paid in the near future. "Everyone's going to get paid," she says. "Even if we have to wash dishes until I'm 84."

Freeman-Waag says that she still hopes to return Whiskey Junction to its heyday as a biker hangout and live blues venue. "I've just been working day and night, day and night, day and night, to get everybody paid and to keep this bar open," she says. "I'm so exhausted and frustrated and angry about what happened. I'm just a woman busting her ass trying to raise three kids and keep this bar open."

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