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Sheriff’s deputies respond to interaction between Sledgehammer’s owner and OCHD administrator

Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle has disputed claims made by Sledgehammer’s owner Jason Stombaugh that Ogle County Health Department Public Administrator Kyle Auman “raided” his property and “physically assaulted” him in an interaction on the night of July 17 at the bar off Illinois 2 near Oregon.

The claims were made in a Facebook post by Sledgehammer’s on Friday, July 24.

Auman was there around 10 p.m. doing an inspection of Sledgehammer’s, VanVickle said. Deputies responded after Auman tried to provide guidance that was refused by Stombaugh. The health department then sent closure orders that “weren’t well-received” when deputies returned with Auman.

“[Stombaugh] reported there was a physical altercation prior to when we arrived,” VanVickle said. “They said they had video of it. There was no video evidence that any physical altercation occurred.”

A report that was a “general overview” of the situation was filed and sent to the state’s attorney, VanVickle said.

“We were there to keep everyone safe,” VanVickle said. “Kyle did what the health department was required to do.”

Auman declined to comment on the situation Tuesday, saying it was a “pending legal situation.” VanVickle said he was unsure if Auman was there for a general health inspection or if it was COVID-19 guideline-related.

Sledgehammer’s Facebook post on the matter said the following:

“Sledgehammers came under attack from the Ogle County Health Department when Kyle Auman, the local health administrator raided our property and physically assaulted Jason, the owner of Sledgehammer’s. Due to the physical assault (sic) on Jason, in front of our patrons and staff, Kyle was not allowed on the propery (sic) without the escort of a Sheriff. At which time Kyle refused to do his inspection, and was removed from the property under the guidance of the Sheriff.”

“Sledgehammers and the entire establishment is under attack, resulting in substantial loss of business, and astronomical monetary losses and expenses.”

VanVickle called the post “absolutely incorrect” and said that Auman is allowed on the property without the escort of a Sheriff’s deputy.

Sledgehammer’s replied to a comment on the post it made and said it would be staying open.

The Ogle County Board is also looking into a county noise ordinance after multiple noise complaints per week from the area near the bar since it reopened in recent months.

A phone message left with Sledgehammer’s on July 23 was not returned at the time of publication.

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