By WCCO-TV

WINNEBAGO, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Wednesday he wants to shut down a planned New Year’s Eve party in Winnebago because it violates Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order on activities that could hasten the spread of COVID-19.

Ellison said in a release that the Carlson Event Center in the southeastern Minnesota town advertises the event as a “big new year’s dance” and asks attendees to bring their own beer and liquor. The release said phone calls and emails to the business have not been returned.

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Ellison said when a business “irresponsibly opens to the public to throw a dance party” it is “simply prolonging the pain of the pandemic for everyone.”

Garth Carlson, owner of the facility, told the Star Tribune that Ellison’s depiction of the event is wrong.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Carlson said. “It’s not a party. It’s not a bash. It’s a religious gathering.”

The attorney general’s lawsuit asks a judge to stop the party, award damages to the state and impose civil penalties.

Megan Zimmerman, the facility’s event manager, did not immediately return a phone message left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

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