DES MOINES, Iowa – The owner of a troubled Des Moines bar that the city has asked to be declared a nuisance is fighting back, claiming the city’s “malicious” and reckless action caused his bar to close.
Edwin Allen, the owner of Zora Bar and Rooftop on Ingersoll Avenue, is now seeking millions in damages against the city.
On July 11, the City of Des Moines filed a petition asking the court to declare Zora a public safety nuisance. The petition cited multiple incidents of gunfire on the property, a homicide in the parking lot, complaints of assaults, and allegations about minors being served liquor at the bar among the reasons for seeking a judgment in the case. It asks the court to order remedial action to abate the nuisance.
Allen filed a counterclaim on July 23. It says the only purpose the city had in filing the petition was “closing Zora Bar Rooftop without any appeal or due process.” The counterclaim also reveals the bar is now closed.
Allen’s counterclaim said he is seeking damages of $10 million for “reputation loss, loss of revenue and pain and suffering.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 8.
Zora is also listed on the agenda of Des Moines’ Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting for Wednesday. Allen is asking the board to change the designation from “restaurant” to “bar” to allow more than 50% of gross receipts to come from the sale of alcohol.