EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — Donations are rolling into a legal defense fund for Jane Moss, co-owner of Boardwalk Bar and Grill, the East Grand Forks restaurant being sued by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Ellison sued the business on Friday, Dec. 11, for violating an executive order, issued in mid-November by Gov. Tim Walz, that shut down bars, restaurants and other businesses to mitigate the spread of an illness caused by a novel coronavirus. The legal defense fund was announced on Boardwalk’s social media page shortly after noon Monday, Dec. 14, and an hour later had garnered more than $9,000 in contributions.
Moss, when reached by telephone Monday, said she was working with pro-business political action committee Action 4 Liberty, to secure the funding, and, presumably, about re-opening her business in the first place.
“The Action 4 Liberty set that up for me,” Moss said about her defense fund. “I’ve been working all along with them.”
According to the Woodbury, Minn.-based PAC’s website, Action 4 Liberty works to make Minnesota a Top 10 State for Business. The group staunchly opposes Walz’s ability to shutter business, which it calls “the largest assault on liberty and small business in modern history.”
Moss said the funds raised were for her use only. Dan Stauss, who owns the business with Moss, declined to speak to Forum News Service and, when reached, abruptly hung up the phone.
Ellison filed the lawsuit against Boardwalk two days after it re-opened on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Shortly after that, the Polk County District Court granted a request from Ellison to enact a temporary restraining order to prevent the business from re-opening. However, the restaurant remained open on Friday and opened again on Saturday.
As a result, on Sunday, Dec. 13, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety suspended the business’ alcohol license for 60 days. Further violations could result in a five-year suspension of Boardwalks alcohol license.
Moss and Stauss have a hearing before the Polk County District Court on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
The Boardwalk is one of a number of businesses across the state that are renouncing Walz’s executive orders and have either already re-opened their doors or are planning to do so. The order is set to expire on Dec. 18, but is widely believed to be extended for another month.
ReOpen Minnesota Coalition, a group that is working with business owners who wish to open in defiance of the shutdown order, also has started a legal defense fund, though contributions there have only reached a third of what Moss has garnered.
On its social media page, the coalition said it will announce a list of those businesses on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and again on Thursday, Dec. 17, so customers can support them.