Documentary claims Racine waging war on minority bar owners

RACINE (WITI) -- A new documentary about the city of Racine has people asking -- will it be an expose or a misleading political tactic?

A documentary making its debut later this month is expected to claim that the city of Racine has waged a war on minority bar owners -- successfully driving them out of business.

"These folks in this town have set civil rights back 50, 60 years," former bar owner Keith Fair says in the documentary.

The filmmaker did not return FOX6's request for comment, but a trailer online features three former Racine bar owners -- claiming the city discriminated against them.

"Other bars had shootings. I never had a shooting.  Other bars had people that get hurt. I never had anybody that got hurt," Wilber Jones -- the owner of Vipers Lounge says in the documentary.

Attorney Vincent Bobot is featured in the documentary. He's represented two Racine bars that are now closed.

"The city of Racine targeted those businesses and they treated them differently than other types of businesses similarly situated," Bobot said.

"We go after people who are breaking the law -- simple as that," Racine Mayor John Dickert said.

Dickert denies race is a factor in which bars are granted licenses -- saying every bar owner is held to the same standards.

He says right now, the city is considering shutting down a bar with a Caucasian owner.

"The ones that have closed down have had numerous problems, over and over and over again," Dickert said.

Alderman Greg Helding says the filmmaker locked horns with the city before.

"He had a failed lawsuit. He had a failed recall attempt against a sitting alderman -- a current alderman and he`s failed to pay his property taxes to the tune of about 136,000 dollars," Helding said.

Bobot calls the documentary a wake up call.

"They are going to be shocked at some of the stuff that's going to be revealed," Bobot said.

The documentary is scheduled to premiere January 20th at the Oriental Theater.