Council backs Spicer mayor after arrest

SPICER -- Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Terry Holmquist said Tuesday that no special meeting has been called regarding the Saturday arrest of Spicer Mayor Perry Wohnoutka, nor has the council requested his resignation.

SPICER -- Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Terry Holmquist said Tuesday that no special meeting has been called regarding the Saturday arrest of Spicer Mayor Perry Wohnoutka, nor has the council requested his resignation.

Holmquist said Wohnoutka should "continue doing the good job he has been doing, (but) only keep a lower profile in the community."

Wohnoutka, 47, was arrested for fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct at about 10 p.m. Saturday after allegedly assaulting a bouncer at Melvin's on the Lake in Spicer. Wohnoutka was held Saturday night at the Kandiyohi County Jail and released Sunday.

Wohnoutka told the Tribune on Monday that he was the victim of an attack.

Formal charges in the incident are expected to be filed this morning in Kandiyohi County District Court, according to Chief Deputy Randy Kveene.


Holmquist said he thinks Wohnoutka is still capable of performing his duties as mayor but hopes this incident will help the mayor understand other responsibilities that come with his position.

"His performance in council meetings has been excellent," Holmquist said. "As far as I know, I'm hoping this will help him understand he has to cool it a little in town and stay out of trouble. Other than that, in meetings he does a good job and he's well-prepared."

As for the Spicer city office, City Clerk LaNae Osmond said she personally had taken only three phone calls as of Tuesday afternoon regarding the mayor's arrest. She also said none of the callers had sought the mayor's resignation.

The mayor himself called the experience depressing and embarrassing in an interview with the Tribune on Monday. He said he had gone outside to get his bike and head home, and that he was punched twice in the face. He said he was not aware of any problem in the bar.

David Baker, owner of Melvin's, told the Tribune on Tuesday that Wohnoutka was verbally assaulting a lot of people Saturday evening at Melvin's, especially the bartender and himself. Melvin's had plenty of eyewitnesses, Baker said, and he said there was indeed an assault.

But he said he wants to "see the legal process do its thing" before commenting further.

Baker also said he asked the bartender and the bouncer involved not to comment to the media about Saturday's incident until more facts are known. Baker said comment by these two would not help the mayor or anyone else involved until more is revealed about the incident.

The sponsors of the VIP party Saturday at Melvin's also commented Tuesday about remarks made by Wohnoutka in the Tribune's Tuesday story.


Wohnoutka had told the Tribune on Monday that he had gone to Melvin's on Saturday afternoon to hear an outdoor concert. He said he had been admitted entrance to a VIP party inside Melvin's and that the food and beer were free at the party.

Nate Thomas, the operations manager of KKLN-FM 94.1 "The Loon," said the mayor was not invited to the VIP area and did not enjoy food and drinks for free on the radio station's tab.

After posting a comment on the West Central Tribune Online, Thomas confirmed the information in a telephone interview Tuesday with the Tribune.

Thomas said Wohnoutka was not an invited guest of the radio station, and that the VIP area at Melvin's was closed off to regular patrons until sometime between 8 and 8:30 p.m. At that point, free drinks were still available but only to the radio station's VIP guests, Thomas said.

"(The mayor) was not on the VIP list," Thomas said. "And it is to my knowledge, that after talking to people from Melvin's, he was not drinking on 'The Loon' tab. He was paying for his own drinks."

Thomas said he could not comment whether Wohnoutka was in the VIP area before 8 p.m. because he and his party were outside the VIP area at that time. Baker said the free amenities of the VIP area were available only to the guests with VIP wristbands -- which Baker said the mayor did not have.

Baker said he confirmed with his bartender that the mayor paid for his drinks. The bartender cited the purchase of four tap beers for $10 by Wohnoutka, Baker said.

Baker said he would not comment about how long the mayor was at Melvin's on Saturday but said he was first aware of the mayor's presence in the VIP area at about 8 p.m.


-- Staff Writer Gretchen Schlosser contributed to this story.

What To Read Next
Get Local