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The ink was barely dry: New tattoo studio in Wadena closes due to legal issues

The operating license of the Abomination Tattoo Studio on Bryant Ave. SE in Wadena has been suspended by the Wadena City Council and a license renewal application by owner Frank Orsello has been rejected. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Orsello2 / 2

Two strikes and Frank Orsello was out.

One of the reasons the Wadena City Council suspended the operating license of Orsello's Abomination Tattoo Studio business and rejected an application for renewal Jan. 9 was because of a letter sent to City Administrator Brad Swenson by the Child Support section of the Wadena County Human Services Department. It stated that Orsello was not in compliance with a court order.

That was Strike One.

At the same time, while performing a routine background check on the 29-year-old Wadena businessman, pursuant to his application for renewal of an operating license, Police Chief Naomi Plautz found Orsello had violated a statute in the city code. She took her evidence to City Attorney Jeff Pederson, who agreed with her that Orsello was in violation.

Strike Two.

What Plautz found was that Orsello was convicted last fall of two misdemeanors and one petty misdemeanor. The total fine for the three offenses was set at $520.

"He was criminally charged with possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia," Plautz said, adding that Orsello was convicted of both charges. Along with the drug-related violations, Orsello was charged and convicted of driving after revocation of license, another misdemeanor.

Plautz declined to comment on particulars of the case when contacted Jan. 23 because she did not have the police report, only the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) criminal record of Orsello's conviction.

While the Wadena Police Department did not arrest, charge or convict Orsello, it placed Plautz in the position of enforcing city statute 364.03, which deals with the relationship of a crime to person's ability, capacity and fitness required to perform a service.

"Our city attorney and I agree that it directly correlates with his ability to do tattooing," Plautz said.

Plautz served papers on Orsello Jan. 11, two days after the city council unanimously approved suspending his license and revoking his operating license renewal form, which is an annual requirement. Plautz said Orsello took the unwelcome news well after she explained the reasons for the needed action.

"He was receptive to it and understood," Plautz said.

Orsello, who did not return a call from the Pioneer Journal asking for comment, is still at liberty to apply for an operating license in another community.

"He can apply for a license to do that anywhere he wishes, but the issuers of the license, the city council and the police chief, would do the same thing we are doing. They would be investigating because that is part of a license application," Plautz said. "You acknowledge that there is going to be a background check on the person applying for the license."

From Swenson's perspective, once Orsello works out his issue with Human Services he can re-apply for an operating license in Wadena as well. It will be up to the city council what happens then.

Orsello operated a tattoo studio in Wadena called "Tattoos by Frank" from 2009 to 2012 before moving to the Twin Cities. He returned to Wadena last year in order to be closer to his family and renovated a building on Bryant Ave. SE which had previously housed Behlianno's Restaurant.

In an interview with the Pioneer Journal last February, Orsello talked about his love of art.

"I've always loved to draw and I love the creativity involved with tattoos," he said at the time. "The job freedom is great as well. It's so fun to hear from people that they're grateful for the work I've done and trust what I do."