One more time: State sides with Revolution in Morristown; town curfew nixed

A battle over curfews at Revolution has reached the courts. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Revolution in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

He may be striking out with the town council. But Iron Bar owner Jimmy Cavanaugh is batting 1.000 with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Once again, the state has stayed alcohol curfews on Cavanaugh’s adjoining Revolution bar — as it has done ever since the town imposed them in 2016.

Attorney Robert C. Williams and Iron Bar/ Revolution owner Jimmy Cavanaugh at Morristown council, June 11, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Closing the taps at 11 pm Sundays through Thursdays and at 11:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and storing trash and recyclables inside the South Street building, are special conditions with “no factual basis.”

They could cause “irreparable injury” to Cavanaugh, according to a temporary order signed last month by James Graziano, acting director of the ABC.

“It’s the sixth stay. The town has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Cavanaugh told

Town Attorney Vij Pawar and Administrator Jillian Barrick answer questions at Morristown council meeting, June 11, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Speaking for the council, town Attorney Vij Pawar, replied:

“We do not have any comments due to pending litigation. However, please note that the issues involved in this matter have state-wide implications.”

Over the years, town officials have cited neighbors’ complaints about late-night disturbances by drunken bar patrons.

Third Ward Councilman Stefan Armington, right, and Mayr Tim Dougherty, wait for primary election results on their phones at Morristown Democratic headquarters, June 4, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Third Ward Councilman Stefan Armington, right, and Mayor Tim Dougherty, wait for primary election results on their phones at Morristown Democratic headquarters, June 4, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Lawyers recently presented arguments in the town’s appeal of a 2018 state administrative court ruling that sided with Cavanaugh.

Morristown also is defending a civil suit by Cavanaugh alleging personal animus by his former pal, Mayor Tim Dougherty, and former Council President Stefan Armington.

The town has denied those accusations.

Cavanaugh, a former Essex County Freeholder and owner of a construction business, cited federal racketeering laws in that suit.

A similar ploy was tossed by a state judge in another Cavanaugh lawsuit, in his ongoing dispute with the Morristown Parking Authority over access to an alley.

Councilwoman Alison Deeb raises a question at Morristown council, as council colleagues Stefan Armington, Robert Iannaccone and Michael Elms listen, June 11, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“Hundreds of residents” have complained at council meetings about downtown bars, Councilwoman Alison Deeb said last month, when the council unanimously re-imposed the curfews.

They are renewal conditions for the liquor license shared by the Iron Bar and Revolution.

Other bars in town may serve alcohol until 2 a.m.

The Iron Bar and Revolution have no liquor law violations, countered Cavanaugh’s attorney, Robert C. Williams.

Responding to public concerns, the town council rejected Cavanaugh’s bid two years ago to expand the Iron Bar’s liquor license to a third storefront, for a proposed Mexican restaurant.

The state’s latest stay remains in effect for this one-year license period, unless the town proves the curfews are necessary.

A large crowd came to Gran Cantina hearing, Jan. 31, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
A large crowd came to council meeting about Iron Bar request to expand its liquor license for a Mexican Restaurant, the Gran Cantina, Jan. 31, 2017. The council later rejected the application. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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  1. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but this stuff about the mayor picking on a successful businessman in a personal vendetta is unbelievably petty and wrong. What is the next step? Is there a legal remedy available to Mr. Cavanaugh for this attack?

  2. This is possibly one most corrupt actions against a small business I have ever seen. Gran Cantina should have been allowed to move forward and any denial of revolutions hours is pure hatred towards the owner which is disgusting and a waste of my taxpayer dollars

  3. In the meantime the Office, Tashmoo, and JKs steakhouse were granted expansions. JKs is within a forward pass of Revolution, the place to place transfer of the Calaloo license was granted with no restrictions. Councilman Armington stated his reason for denying our place to place transfer was because he didn’t want more drinkers downtown, we agreed to the same occupancy with Gran Cantina. These people have no idea what an elected office means, the public trust is in their hands yet they continue to behave like criminals.

  4. Someone should file a FOIA to find out how much tax payer money is being wasted in this ongoing harassment exercise.

  5. It’s said the sure sign of insanity is to repeat the same mistakes and expect a different result. The council can’t comment because the orders come from the mayor. The town attorney wrongfully allowed a closed session citing litigation, but this license year is not the subject of litigation a clear violation of the sunshine law. But the council needed to hide since non would comment on their actions. Councilwoman Deeb talks about hundreds of residents complaining, yet no one objected at this latest renewal. The hundreds were mostly supporters of our Mexican concept at the hearing shown here. By now most know what’s going on with this Mayor. He has said let him spend money, his way of punishing those who resist his motives.