Cole denies accusations of bias against bar owner

By Gus Bode

Mayor Brad Cole said Thursday he has no personal vendetta against Cali’s owner Greg Knoob, whose lawyer sent an e-mail suggesting otherwise to City Council members and media outlets.

City officials voted to fine Knoob Enterprises, Inc. $1,000 on Cole’s recommendation during Tuesday’s Liquor Control Commission meeting. The fine stems from a July 13 incident in which Knoob’s staff failed to control the establishment’s parking lot, resulting in charges of cannabis possession, public drinking and fighting, said City Attorney Jamie Snyder.

Knoob’s attorney Alfred Sanders wrote in the e-mail that Cole was targeting Knoob.


Cole said the facts did not support accusations made by Knoob and Sanders. The commission agreed to fine Knoob based upon the evidence brought against him, Cole said.

‘I would prefer that they run their business according to the laws that are on the books and then there aren’t any problems,’ Cole said.

Cole said the initial hearing he had with Knoob on Oct. 21 was standard procedure and he was not required to bring the issue in front of the commission before imposing the fine.

Knoob said Tuesday’s meeting was arranged to prevent him from making an appeal to the commission. Once the commission has heard a case, it cannot appeal its own decision, he said.

‘The mayor has made it quite clear he is out to get me. That’s fine,’ Knoob said. ‘He is going out trying to make me look bad in the public’s eye. If he’s going to do that then I’m going to do the same.’

The e-mail sent by Sanders to the council members accused Cole of trying to influence their voting on a previous case involving underage drinking at Stix, another establishment owned by Knoob. According to the e-mail, ‘the mayor called each and every one of you outside the scrutiny of a public hearing to try and convince you vote a certain way in that proceeding … and you did.’

Councilwoman Corene McDaniel said this was not the case. She said that if she had the chance to vote again, she would still vote to fine Knoob.


‘The mayor doesn’t dictate to me on how I vote. I vote according to the evidence I have before me,’ McDaniel said. ‘I have to do what I think is best for the citizens of Carbondale.’

McDaniel said while she does not agree with Knoob’s opinion she respects his right to voice it. She said if he did not like the commission’s decision, he could appeal to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.

Cole said Knoob and his defense have made the issue personal when it is really a matter of Knoob’s disregard for the law.

‘(Knoob) is trying to fight the law through the media instead of just obeying the law,’ Cole said.

Justin Lange can be reached at

536-3311 ext. 258 or [email protected]