Dollar bill dispensers, ATMs, a stage with a pole, a bar with high end liquor and a DJ booth with speakers – these will be, ahem, coming to Milwaukee’s City Hall soon thanks to a settlement reached with Silk Exotic Tuesday.
In addition, Milwaukee will see it’s first mobile strip clubs running along the proposed streetcar line during spring and summer months.
This frantic activity is the result of the recommendation by City Attorney Grant Langley that the city cut its losses in the settlement of a lawsuit with Silk Exotic, which runs strip clubs in Milwaukee, Juneau and Madison. Silk sued the city over the action to deny operators a license to open a Downtown club and a jury awarded the club $12.3 million in damages and another $22 million in punitive damages to the aldermen, whom the jury described as "blue noses, anti-entertainment prudes."
Langley, who represented the Common Council in the lawsuit in federal court, told alderman that the chance of prevailing on appeal was not a good one and that they should try to settle.
"When we looked at that money we figured we should find a way to protect taxpayers, and this is what we came up with," said Ald. Joe Dudzik.
Jon Ferraro, the Silk owner who has fought city hall for years over a license, said he was exhausted from the fight and couldn’t talk about his plans right now.
But his attorney, Jeffrey Olson, said he expected Milwaukee to really take notice of the new development.
"I think the city hall club will be the first one in the nation," Olson said. "We think the club will be huge during the day as well as during cocktail hour. Can you imagine the line of people to get in on the days they line up to pay property taxes? It’s going to be incredible."
According to the settlement agreement, the club can build a stage in the atrium of the building and place speakers throughout the first floor. There are no limits on the decibel level.
In addition the club will be able to have dancers on the first three floors of the building although the dancers will not be allowed to lean over the railings. Elevator dancing was also expressly prohibited.
The club will be forced to offer 2-for-1 premium drinks to all elected officials and 2-for-1 rail drinks to other city employees.
There will be no limit to the number of girls who can dance at one time nor any regulations about how much, or how little, they can wear.
The settlement also allows Silk to run mobile strip clubs on trolleys along the route of the new streetcar line.
Silk submitted a planning document for the mobile clubs.
- Up to four trolleys can be strung together to make articulated dance floors. Customers will sit on the side seats, like on buses.
- Drinks will be sold by "comely servers" who will carry trays much like the Miller Park vendors do, although these servers need only wear pasties and thongs, setting them apart from the vendors at baseball games.
- The only drinks that will be served are two kinds of beer and shots of either tequila, Wild Turkey or Sex on the Beach.
"We'd like to see a small breakfast buffet, too," says Ferraro. "We'll call it 'Legs and Eggs.'"
The sides of each trolley will be covered by a sheer curtain, preventing free ogling but allowing passersby to at least see the shadow of each lap dance.
Plans for an opening ceremony are still unfinished but one source said that Tom Barrett was debating whether to get the first lap dance at the facility.
"Oh man, I can't wait," said Ald. Bob Donovan. "Finally something interesting in City Hall. There will be dudes, too, right?"
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
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