Libertarian Party leader tells San Antonio council that violence may erupt over Moses Rose's dispute

'I can only pray that you and politicians across Texas are receiving this message,' party chair J.R. Haseloff told council.

click to enlarge Last week, supporters of Moses Rose's Hideout and owner Vince Cantu held a peaceful rally at Travis Park. - Michael Karlis
Michael Karlis
Last week, supporters of Moses Rose's Hideout and owner Vince Cantu held a peaceful rally at Travis Park.
In comments to city council, the head of Bexar County's Libertarian Party suggested that some property-rights advocates may resort to violence if San Antonio uses eminent domain to take over downtown bar Moses Rose's Hideout.

The remarks by party chair J.R. Haseloff came during a Wednesday public comment session at city hall. Haseloff led a protest last weekend in support of Moses Rose's owner Vince Cantu, who's refused to sell the tavern that sits in the footprint of the proposed $150 million Alamo Visitor Center and Museum.

"While out of an abundance of caution, we marked this as a peaceful protest, I am here to testify to you that there are men, women, organizations and individuals across the state of Texas that are very much prepared to sacrifice much more to prevent your theft of this man's property," Haseloff told council. "I can only pray that you and politicians across Texas are receiving this message."

No one on council responded to Haseloff's statement.

He continued: "Let me be clear, we will not stand idly by and watch you steal property from one of our fellow Texans. We will fight, and we will win."

The Libertarian Party leader's strong language is just the latest turn in the ongoing saga over the downtown bar.

Since city council voted Jan. 26 to begin eminent domain proceedings against Moses Rose's, Cantu has declined multiple buyout offers from the Alamo Trust. Those include a $4 million proposal that would have come with relocation assistance and potential reimbursement for operating losses.

Instead, Cantu has maintained that his business, located at 516 E. Houston St., is worth $17 million. He's made that claim despite filing an appraisal protest last year in which he argued the property was only worth $527,000.

After the Current contacted Cantu for comment on Haseloff's statement, the bar owner thanked "all those willing to fight" against the eminent domain acquisition.

"When government forces a private property owner to sell his property on the battlegrounds of the Alamo, it is obviously going to get some proud Texans, who are passionate about property rights, fired up," he said.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office declined comment on Haseloff's remarks, and officials with the city attorney's office were unavailable for comment Thursday morning.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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