Man in Cottonwood Heights claims police targeted his bar to drive him out of business

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah -- It’s the end of an era for an iconic Cottonwood Heights bar. After 25 years, owner Jim Stojack officially sold the Canyon Inn. The last drinks will be served this weekend.

“It’s a very tough day," Stojack said. "I met my wife here. My kids have grown up here, and they have taken this all away."

'They’ are the Cottonwood Heights Police. Stojack says they began targeting his business five years ago when he discovered plans for the Canyon Center development, plans which included Stojack selling his property.

“When I refused to sell this to the developer in the property behind us, he looked at my wife as I walked away and said, 'You better have your husband reconsider, or we’ll let Cottonwood Heights do the dirty work.' I thought it was an idle threat; he made good on it,” Stojack said.

Cottonwood Heights City Manager John Park adamantly denies that police are responsible for the Canyon Inn’s demise. Park says they’ve been asking Stojack to bring evidence proving this harassment for years, and everything they have seen, proves nothing of the sort.

“We’ve seen videos that he’s given to other people, pictures that he's given to other people, and most of them do not substantiate the claims he’s made,” Park said.

Stojack says he’s issued several formal complaints, even with the State Attorney General and the FBI. However, after years of inaction, he had no choice but to sell, and give up on the family business.

“I would’ve loved to pass this on to my sons, Stojack said. "One is 20, one’s 24, but they have taken this all away."

Stojack sold the business to his neighbors, who own the Lift House Ski Shop, and they plan to turn the restaurant and bar into another ski shop.

Stojack says he never received another offer from the developer of the Canyon Center.

14 comments

  • Cookie

    The city seems to deny that the police are innocent of wrong doing in a lot of things lately. Maybe he should pull his head out of the sand.

  • Huni

    The CHPD are definitely power hungry and bullies compared to other police departments in Utah, but there are only 2 bars in Cottonwood Heights. Those bars happen to be 1-2 miles apart from each other. It makes CHPDs job pretty easy to crack down on drunk drivers. It doesn’t mean your bar is being targeted specifically, because you are one of two bars. They don’t have far to go to make sure drivers aren’t drunk.

  • D

    Yeah they have been claiming things for years isn’t it odd that they never have proof. Maybe it’s a run down bar with a poor business owner that is the cause of this. Not the city trying to take your property.

    • Bob

      Agreed! Ever watch BAR RESCUE. you have to re-invent you label every 6-8 years to stay profitable. I drive through CWH all the time. i have never been pulled over. In fact, i go to the other bars in that city and again, have never been pulled over. In fact, last week I went to one of the “other bars” in the city. There were two CHW police cars meeting in the parking lot of the bar. People coming and going. No one cared and no one got pulled over. Get over yourself Mr. Stojack, you failed as a businessman and want to blame someone else. All of your publicity killed you own business.

      • J Park

        Bob, notice how the police are not harassing people at the other bars you go to? Why would so many complaints come from 1 bar? I was pulled over leaving Canyon Inn from cop that was pulling out of 711 at the same time. The cop was rude and made threats he could not back up. I was released after I blew a .02. I was only stopped because I left the Canyon Inn. No moving violation was committed. The cop was hoping I was a DUI. That is harassment.

  • Kenny

    Nowhere in this story does it explain how or what CHPD are doing to cause this. Leave it to Fox News to show a one sided story

  • BBarney

    When CHPD has the highest rate of DUI dismissals in the state, I can’t help but wonder if they are targeting. But I stopped going to Canyon Inn after a friend of mine got pulled over “not using her signal” leaving the bar.

  • Dale

    There are 5 bars within a mile of the Canyon Inn in CH.
    None of the other bars see anywhere near the level of patrons pulled over as Canyon Inn.
    At least 6 business owners near Canyon make the same claims of harassment.
    Seems odd.

  • Finny Wiggen

    All because of their extreme arrogance and inability to admit they were wrong in the way that they mistreated a dancing senor citizen.

    Imagine had they just acted maturely and apologized. All of this corruption would have remained a secret.

  • Craig Smith

    I worked for a local police department. Cops are a**holes. Until everyone finally realize they are nothing but a legalized gang of thugs paid by taxpayers, abuses like this will continue. They don’t know your rights they are violating when they arrest you. They leave that up to the county prosecutors to figure out after you’re arrested. I saw too many abuses too often to have much respect for law enforcement anymore. It’s truly sad.

    • saltyberg

      Thank you for standing up and saying this so many people seem to be so scared to challenge authority which is precisely what they want.I wanna rack my head off my desk when i go over to the ksl news comments section .You cant convince those readers cops ever do anything wrong.

  • Tim Partridge

    I was also pulled over coming out of th Canyon Inn, I pulled right into the 7-11 next door. CWH Police had 3 patrol cars around me, I was told I didn’t come to a complete stop leaving the Canyon Inn parking lot. I was asked to take a soberity test, which I complied with. I passed all the physical test, then was asked to take a breathalyzer test which I passed as well. I was given back my license an insurance card an told I was free to go. I went into 7-11 got a bottle of water, an went out an sat on the bench an asked myself what the Hell just happened. I am Pro LE, but I would so much as help a single member of the Cottonwood Heights PD. When citizens need to support their local Police dept’s, Cottonwood Heights risks alienating the local community.

  • Joey

    The CHPD was completely complicit in the closing of the Canyon Inn regardless of what a news channel reports or what a politician says. The Canyon Inn had a court order to keep CHPD from the area because it had gotten so bad- just ask former chief police BB about it-he knows what the orders were from the Mayors office. They would pull over anyone in the area for BS reasons between 10pm -2am and then pursue their DUI assault- I know because I was one of those arrests that was thrown out of court because of lack of evidence. People (myself included) finally got tired of the harassment and went elsewhere- hence the Canyon Inn was forced to sell. Once a thriving nightclub and a fun place to go- it was totally dead on Friday and Saturday nights towards the end. Congratulations CWHPD- you should be very proud of doing the Mayors bidding.

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