Neenah offers to buy troubled Eagle Nation Cycles property

Published: May. 7, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 8:07 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - A troubled property in Neenah could soon be bought by the city.

Eagle Nation Cycles has a long history of incidents involving police and just recently was tied to a fatal stabbing through a motorcycle club.

Just weeks after police executed a search warrant with the voluntary cooperation of Eagle Nation Cycles owner Steve Erato, Mayor Dean Kaufert says the two met for a meeting.

According to the mayor, much of the talk focused on an incident where members of the Hell’s Lovers motorcycle club watched the stabbing death of 22-year-old Rodger Ridgeway, a Neenah resident. It happened just outside the building.

“He has evicted the motorcycle club, the member who had rented the building. He’s taken care of that himself. They no longer have access to the building. They’re moved out,” said Kaufert.

Still, the mayor says concerns about the property’s future -- and the entire block -- exist, which the city has already designated a blighted redevelopment area.

He added, “The fact is that I have to find a way to appease him to hopefully have an amiable solution that both of us can live with and get them out of there.”

Kaufert says the city has never had to use eminent domain, at least since he’s taken office, and he hopes to avoid doing so in this case as well.

However, the owner of the property must come back with a price to sell that’s within reason.

Erato spoke to Action 2 News late Friday by phone. He says, the asking price is a million and three quarters, plus moving expenses.

“After my partner was murdered by the Neenah police, and I firmly believe he was murdered and I told the mayor that, and I said, after my partner was murdered and they did there absolute best to drive me out of business and ruin my business, the price went drastically higher,” Erato said.

Erato also denies that the property has had a single issue with police, in the past two years prior the fatal stabbing.

He added, “We had no problems at all until the area wanted to get developed, and I understand that but it’s also a very valuable property and it’s very valuable to me and it will be sold when we get the right price.”

Right now there’s no plan on the table for what could become of the property should the city move forward on a sale.

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