Judgement Rendered Against Tavern Owner Related to Downtown Death


Published on January 17 2014 4:39 pm
Last Updated on January 17 2014 4:39 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A judgement has been rendered against the owner of a downtown tavern for selling liquor to an intoxicated man.  The man died following the incident.

Effingham Mayor Merv Gillenwater, as City Liquor Commissioner, said Mike Waitkus, owner of Scrubby's Pub at the corner of 4th and Jefferson entered into a plea agreement to three charges. Gillenwater said Waitkus agreed to counts of sale or offering of liquor to an intoxicated person, sale or offering of liquor to a person within the City of Effingham between 1am and 6am, and sale or offer of liquor on a licensed premises between 1:30am and 6am.

The person who was served while intoxicated, James Pontious of Effingham, was found dead early Sunday morning, September 15, 2013 outside the establishment.

Gillenwater said he waited until the Effingham Police Department completed its investigation and until the case was reviewed by State's Attorney Bryan Kibler before acting on the City violations.  He said he also wanted to have toxicology tests in hand before proceeding in the matter.

Waitkus agreed to plead to the charges in November.  He paid a $1,000 fine on the first count and $500 on each of the other two counts.

Gillenwater agreed that he could have suspended Scrubby's license, but said he felt it was "more to the benefit of the City to impose the fines."

Waitkus is selling Scrubby's.  Gillenwater said the transfer of license to the new ownership could take place at the next City Council meeting.