|Sat. Jan. 3, 1891 - Page 2, column 3, top
The Matter comes before the Court
Deliberations began yesterday in a special session of the Supreme Court in the case of a restraining order brought by Mr. George Urban against Joseph Forster and Oscar D. Miner, owner and manager of one of the so-called roadhouses. Attorney Eugene Falk, representing the defense, read the sworn depositions of several people, who more or less have had something to do with these houses. One was written by Mr. Miner himself, in which it was stated that his business establishment was operated in a respectable and orderly fashion and that dangerous games and other illicit activities had never been permitted.
In reference to an accusation made by Detective Jones that Miner had provided a bedroom to a man by the name of O'Brian and a woman of the city, the accused clarified that he believed that the pair was a married couple.
Robert F. McVan, the man whom O'Brian and the woman had met outside, made a similar statement, but admitted that he had first met the couple at various other locations.
William Hargenhohn and Edward Dietzel made sworn statements that both had seen Detective Jones several times lying in the streets in a beastially drunken condition.
Contractor Mann swore that Miner was a man of good character and that his establishment may had raised the value of properties in the neighborhood.
Adelbert Moot, Mr. Urban's attorney then began his argument in a masterly way and refuted each of the above mentioned affidavits. He made a fine speech in which he stated that his client was making every possible attempt to improve Walden Avenue. All his requests and warnings had been ignored and he was turning to the court for a decision.
Mr. Urban had brought this matter before the court in order to prevent Walden Avenue from becoming a second Canal Street, a resort for drunken men and women who hold their orgies nightly in roadhouses.
Mr. Moot further stated that Mr. Forster had talked about the matter with Mr. Urban, that he paid his $30 per month rent and apart from that he didn't have anything else to do with it.
He [Mr. Moot] also read out the reports in the press concerning the houses. Mr. Miner stated that he only served food and drink and the attorney did not believe that women and men passed by the saloons and restaurants on Broadway and Genesee Streets just to buy some lunch and a beer at Mr. Miner's house. According to the intent of the orator Miner should be punished and Forster also found guilty.
Mr. Becker, the attorney for the accused, also delivered a lengthy speech. He said that the courts should not believe the testimony of informants and paid spies. As long as Mr. Forster had operated the place it had undoubtedly been a respectable one. One time Mr. Forester had been fined $150 for holding a cock fight in his saloon but he discontinued the event.
Mr. Falk defended Mr. Miner in a similar fashion and Mr. Moot responded. Both accused men received word of Justice Lambert's decision. He found Mr. Forster not guilty but decreed that Mr. Miner had knowingly and willfully broken the law and the judge fined him $150.