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Levee Cafe owner faces felony charges

Levee Cafe' owner Jeffrey Alan Kasa faces legal problems of a criminal nature after he apparently purchased alcohol illegally for his restaurant while his liquor purchasing card was suspended for a part of 2008 and a portion of this year.

Hastings Police last week (Dec. 7) filed two felony charges of transportation of alcoholic beverages into the state for resale. According to the complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office, the police department learned through the ongoing investigation with the state that the Levee had liquor that had been purchased at retail outlets and was reselling it at the restaurant.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division executed a search warrant at the restaurant March 5. An investigator spoke with employees who confirmed alcohol had been purchased at retail establishments for purpose of resale.

A special investigator determined the alcohol and beer that was in the restaurant at the time of warrant execution had been manufactured after the July 20, 2008, license suspension date. Plus, investigators found receipts that showed alcohol purchased from out-of-state retailers. One of the invoices showed the purchase of 12 bottles of wine from Grantsburg. According to the complaint, one employee said he had been asked to go to a liquor store in Prescott prior to last Christmas to purchase a case of beer and some wine. The receipt for that purchase was also found,

In April, the Levee was fined $2,000 and had its liquor license suspended for 10 days. The Hastings City Council imposed the civil penalty after it was discovered the Levee Café was on a Minnesota tax delinquency list for several months and was purchasing alcohol illegally.

At that time, Kasa's attorney, Nicholas May, said the whole matter was a misunderstanding. May said Kasa pays his taxes to the state online through the Department of Revenue's website.

The Levee Café was placed on the Minnesota Department of Revenue's tax delinquent liquor posting, a public list, July 15, 2008. Once posted to the list, state law prohibited wholesalers from selling alcohol to the Levee Café, and prohibited the restaurant from buying alcohol from other retailers for the purpose of resale. The Levee Café was taken off the list in mid-March.