Advertisements in the student newspapers and a particularly large banner, which the city forced to be taken down Thursday, have highlighted new strategies implemented by Brothers Bar and Grill owners Eric and Marc Fortney.
The banner was put up Wednesday evening, and depicts a large target on the side of the Fortneys’ establishment. In bold letters across the bull’s-eye reads “No UW Music School.”
However, the Fortneys were told by city officials Thursday they had to take down the sign because it was too large and not in accordance with city codes, Ald. Mike Veveer, District 4, said.
Eric Fortney said the intent of this latest strategy is to draw attention to their establishment’s situation, as they are currently facing condemnation by the UW System Board of Regents’ use of eminent domain.
“We’re in support of the music school and its students,” Eric Fortney said. “We would never wish them any ill will.”
He added he also wants to clear up confusion about what he believed to be a mischaracterization of facts by University of Wisconsin System spokesperson David Giroux.
Advertisements in both The Badger Herald and the Daily Cardinal addressed comments made in previous Herald articles in the form of a letter to Giroux.
The advertisement by the Fortneys contends Giroux’s claims that they are seeking compensation rather than preservation of their establishment and say his statements are unfounded and inaccurate.
“What the university is doing is fundamentally wrong,” Eric Fortney said. “We want nothing in the way of personal payment. Either leave us alone and build behind us or honor the relocation agreement.”
The university has offered $150,000 to the Fortneys’ for relocation of their property, but $1.3 million has been deemed necessary by the bar’s owners for relocation and necessary renovation, according to a statement from the UW System.
Eric Fortney said the university had taken steps toward placing bids on a property behind State Street Brats, an offer which Fortney claims was later reneged.
Fortney added by shifting the building plans for the new School of Music facility by 65 feet, Brothers could continue to stay in business, and the facility could serve the university.
Giroux said by shifting the construction, the additions to the Chazen Museum of Art would have to be modified in kind, something he said would be far too complicated to carry out at this point.
In response to the advertisement directed at him personally, Giroux said he was flattered that his opinion meant so much to the Fortneys.
“I’m quite tickled. I had to pick up extra copies to bring home to my children,” Giroux said. “I can tell them, ‘This is what daddy does for work.'”
With respect to relocation costs, Giroux said the university is required by law to reasonably cover costs for the relocation of the establishment.
He said the actions and comments by the Fortneys indicated they want above and beyond what is required by law.
Giroux said a judge will determine what is fair when the Fortneys’ lawsuit against the Board of Regents goes to trial April 8 and 9 of this year. Eric Fortney said he and his brother will continue to attempt to negotiate with the Board of Regents in hopes of maintaining their business in its current location.