Ellison sues event center for planning New Year’s Eve party 

"When a business irresponsibly opens to the public to throw a dance party, their insistence on violating the law is simply prolonging the pain of the pandemic for everyone."

Background: Alibi Drinkery/Facebook. Right: Keith Ellison/Minnesota Attorney General's Office

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit against a Winnebago event center Wednesday to prevent it from hosting a New Year’s Eve party.

According to Ellison’s office, the Carlson Event Center scheduled a “New Year’s Eve Bash” for Thursday night into Friday morning. The advertisement encourages attendees to bring their own beer and liquor to a “big new year’s dance,” which is how the event was described on Facebook, the lawsuit states.

The Carlson Event Center’s advertisement for its New Year’s Eve party, from Ellison’s lawsuit.

The Attorney General’s Office attempted to contact the event center, but its calls and emails weren’t answered, according to a press release.

On Twitter, Ellison said the event “caters to the rural Latino community that COVID has hit especially hard.”

“Performance venues, like many other businesses, have been hurting during this pandemic. I’m glad to see efforts like the recently-passed Minnesota aid package and the Minnesota-born national Save Our Stages Act are out there helping these businesses make it through this challenging time,” Ellison said.

“By far the vast majority of indoor venues have been complying with the law all along. But when a business irresponsibly opens to the public to throw a dance party, their insistence on violating the law is simply prolonging the pain of the pandemic for everyone,” he added.

The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the event from moving forward and impose fines of up to $25,000 for “each violation or threatened violation” of Gov. Tim Walz’s orders.

“I don’t enjoy using the enforcement tools I have available because I’d much prefer all establishments do the right thing on their own, but I will continue to use them when I have no other choice to protect Minnesotans from this deadly virus,” Ellison continued.

Meanwhile, several newly-elected Democrats planned to participate in an outdoor inauguration ceremony next week with an estimated 100 attendees and received a permit to do so from the Department of Administration. They canceled the event Wednesday afternoon after facing backlash.