Arrests made in Hard Times case

by Thomas Douty

Hard Times Cafe customers had a hard time getting into the neighborhood coffee shop Monday night when they were greeted by windows covered with old newspapers and a sign on the front door that read: “The cafe will be closed temporarily for cleaning and repairs.”
And in the wake of its closing, several cafe patrons and a former owner might have to do “hard time.”
Four men have been charged with felony narcotics violations resulting from an undercover investigation of the cafe.
Minneapolis police raided the cafe Wednesday and arrested two men for alleged narcotics violations. The cafe has since been closed.
Cafe workers, who automatically became part-owners after a six-month probation period, voluntarily closed shop because of health and building-code violations. They hope to reopen soon, following a report issued by the housing inspector Monday.
The day after the police raid, one of the cafe’s owners was arrested for allegedly obstructing the legal process when she reopened the business. Four officers responded to the West Bank cafe when police found it open.
But Bob Dildine, the cafe’s attorney, said the claims were unjustified. “I believe the police had no legal right to be there,” he said.
Since November 1999, a Minneapolis police officer worked undercover at Hard Times. The officer reportedly purchased marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and crack cocaine from some of the cafe’s workers and customers.
Martin Johnson, a former owner who resigned from the cooperative following his arrest, was charged with a fifth-degree controlled-substance violation and faces up to five years in prison. Joseph Terry Jr. was charged last week with third-degree controlled-substance violations for allegedly selling crack cocaine.
Heinzeroth and Kenney allegedly sold a small amount of marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms to an undercover police officer at the cafe.
Kenney has been charged with two counts of fifth-degree felony controlled-substance violations.
According to police reports, Heinzeroth was standing outside the Hard Times Cafe a few hours after the raid when he was arrested. He has been charged with a fourth-degree felony controlled-substance violation.
The amount and type of illegal drug determines the degree of the violation.
The apartment above the cafe was closed temporarily because of hazardous electrical and plumbing conditions. The owners of the building have until Feb. 15 to fix the conditions or the apartment will be condemned.

Thomas Douty covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected]. He also can be reached at 627-4070 x3223.