Despite preparing for riots, Dinkytown businesses suffered

Liquor stores in Dinkytown and Stadium Village suffered thousands of dollars of damage.

WBy Nathan Halverson, Dan Haugen and Joe Mahon When Sam Hasan came to the United States as an Egyptian immigrant, he never expected to see riots like the one that ravaged Dinkytown on Saturday night.

Hasan, manager of Mangia restaurant in Dinkytown, had to station three employees around the restaurant to deter rioters. And he had to move one of his employee’s cars from the parking lot behind the Dinkydome because it was in danger of catching fire, he said.

Hasan and his employees were lucky. Some businesses and workers in Dinkytown and Stadium Village sustained thousands of dollars of damage. In many cases, insurance either does not cover the damage or owners are choosing not to file claims.

“This is not ‘Animal House,’ ” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said. “I want people to know with great clarity that we will deal with these issues to the full extent of the law.”

Lucy Kervin, a University senior, might be consoled by these words, but it does not bring her car back.

Kervin was working at Erberts & Gerberts when the riots started. She had parked in the adjacent parking lot. Kervin’s car was the first to be tipped and set ablaze. Rioters rocked it back and forth until the car tipped, momentarily balanced on two wheels, and was then finally forced over by the vandals.

A fund has been set up for Kervin, who fund collectors said did not have full insurance coverage. Donations are being accepted at Erberts & Gerberts and other Dinkydome restaurants.

Kervin is not the only one who will not receive support from insurance companies. Irv Hershkovitz, owner of Dinkytown Wine & Spirits, said he will not file claims to get reimbursed for the $5,000 to $6,000 worth of damage to his property. Hershkovitz said not filing the claims will save him money in the long run because it will keep his premiums lower.

Hershkovitz said he and his employees stayed at the store until 4:30 a.m. protecting it from looters.

“It was like being in a war,” he said. They were successful in stopping looters, but eight windows were broken. Next time, he said he is going to board up his windows.

Before Saturday’s game, Dinkytown Business Association President Skott Johnson had been in contact with police and the University to talk about what would be done if riots occurred again. But he did not think this year’s celebration would be as destructive as last year’s.

“But I was wrong,” he said. Fortunately for Johnson, he didn’t sustain any damage to his Fourth Street Southeast store, Autographics. He said customers, some of whom were fraternity members, came over to protect his store.

“I was well looked after,” he said.

U Liquors in Stadium Village was not so fortunate. It was vandalized and looted Saturday night. Owner George Medich said he still does not know the extent of the damage, but was certain costs would be in the thousands of dollars. The windows were being repaired today and the carpet would be cleaned if possible – or replaced if necessary.

Medich said they were still trying to determine how much liquor had been stolen.

“I was surprised how much was missing,” he said.

The store was open for business Monday, and Merdich said it would operate as usual.

Chris Wilson, Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association president, said he wanted the University to expand its code of conduct so it included off-campus activity.

“We’re just looking for things that would bring more consequences for that activity,” he said.