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The owners of Silk Exotic today won a big victory in federal court as a jury awarded them a judgement of almost half a million dollars for revenue lost because the city would not grant them a license for a Downtown strip club.
Sarah Crandall, an attorney for Silk, said the judgement of $435,000 was reached by a jury after a two-day trial in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman. Crandall said they would also be filing for attorneys fees, which the city is responsible for, which could amount to "at least a couple of hundred of thousand dollars more."
Crandall and the Jeff Scott Olson law firm in Madison have represented Silk in its battle to win a license.
Silk has tried numerous times over the past several years to get a license in various locations Downtown. Each application has been turned down by the Licenses Committee of the Common Council.
Silk filed the lawsuit for $435,000 in lost revenue going back 18 months, and the 12-person jury agreed. The club's owners also filed a lawsuit, on the same grounds, for lost revenue dating back 36 months, which could make the city liable for a judgement against it for more than $1 million.
Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents Downtown Milwaukee, said, "Now we are talking about real money.
"The city attorney had led us to believe that we were looking at zero dollars," he said. "I guess that's not the case."
One scenario has the city offering to grant a license in exchange for Silk agreeing to forfeit the judgment and protect the city against the results of the second lawsuit. Crandall had no comment on any negotiations to settle the case nor did Bauman.
Previously the city had rejected a Silk offer to drop the lawsuit in exchange for the granting of a license.
Crandall said one of the interesting aspects of the trial was that the club showed a video of nude dancing in the courtroom, saying that it might be the first time a video of that sort ever showed up in Federal Court. She said the video was shot at Silk Madison, where totally nude dancing is allowed, as opposed to Milwaukee, where it is banned.
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