Mayor's crackdown on late-night bars was illegal
Pia Allerslev had no legal authority to deny five bars a licence to serve alcohol, a report states
The deputy mayor for culture and leisure, Pia Allerslev (V), broke the law when she denied five bars an alcohol licence as the head of the licencing board Bevillingsnævnet, City Council’s legal consultants in the law firm Horten wrote in a joint report yesterday.
"All in all, we find that the decisions made by the licencing board in these five cases were not in accordance with existing laws," the report stated, according to Ekstra Bladet tabloid.
In May, Allerslev led a new licencing plan to reduce noise levels and vandalism in the city centre's nightlife by not issuing more licences to late-night bars.
The five bars affected by the licencing plan will now have their cases re-processed.
Bars lost millions
Two of the bars, Musen & Elefanten and Max Billy, told Politiken newspaper that they had invested millions of kroner in renovating their facilities before the board decided they couldn't get an alcohol licence because there were already too many bars in the streets of Vestergade and Gothersgade, where the bars were opening.
The owners lived up to all police requirements in order to attain a licence but because the licence board denied them an alcohol licence, they are now left with millions invested in empty rooms.
Mayor acknowledges mistake
Allerslev responded to the case in a press release in which she acknowledged that she made a mistake and should have used the consultants of Horten – and not her colleague in the licence board, Mogens Møller Kjærsgaard – as her legal adviser.
"We decided to listen to [Kjærsgaard] instead of listening to the [Culture and Leisure] Committee's own legal consultants," she said. "Their external legal opinion makes it clear that the board didn't have the sufficient authority to reject these five establishments. That is why we will take a second look at the cases immediately."