Sunday, July 06, 2008

Wilton Bar Owner: 'I'm a freedom fighter'

A Wilton Bar owner who has joined a lawsuit seeking an injunction on the Iowa indoor smoking ban imposed last week says he has hundreds of tavern owners around the state supporting the effort.

"It's not just business rights," said Brian Froehlich, owner of Fro's Pub & Grub in Wilton, about 12 miles north of Muscatine. "It's personal rights."

Froehlich said the debate over the ban in the mainstream media has largely been skewed to supporters -- whom he believes have engaged in a coordinated effort on newspaper blogs and other places to drown-out the voices of small business owners and the loyal smokers who have kept many a small-town bar alive for decades.

"They're using these blogs to spread their propoganda," Froehlich told Iowa Independent.

He's joined with a Clinton, Iowa bar association and others in a lawsuit challenging the ban. Former GOP U.S. Senate candidate George Eichhorn is representing the group.

Here is The Des Moines Register on the lawsuit:

On the same day a new statewide smoking ban went into effect, several bar and restaurant owners filed a petition in Polk County District Court seeking to overturn the ban.

The Iowa Bar Owners Coalition, based in Clinton County; the Clinton Organized Bar and Restaurant Association; Froehlich Properties; and longtime smoker Ron Oveson filed the petition in Des Moines on Tuesday.

The group's attorney, George Eichhorn, said he's seeking a temporary injunction on the enforcement of the ban until the case can go to trial.
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No court date has been set, but Eichhorn said he hoped it would be within the next 18 months.


""I'm a freedom fighter," Froehlich told Iowa Independent.

He has a Web site for other bar owners for organization against the ban but there is no public access -- so they can steer clear from "prying eyes."

Froehlich said his organization may become involved in political races as well.

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