The Milwaukee Common Council will hold a special hearing Sept. 17 to hear two applications for a license to operate a gentlemen's club in Downtown Milwaukee, one of them from Silk, which has tried for years to open a club Downtown.
Silk filed its application for liquor and food licenses for a club at 804 N. Milwaukee St. in a vacant office building. Silk plans to operate the club on the top floor of the building. The lease was signed with Jeno Cataldo, owner of the building and part of the family that owns Jo-Cat's on Brady Street. The lease is for $20,000 per month for 20 years.
The other party, Diane Collins, is applying again to open a club at 730 N. Old World 3rd St. Collins was unavailable but she is the sister of Rad Buzdum, who has experience in the strip club business.
That location – the former home of Rusty's 50 bar, The Velvet Room and Martini Mike's – was one that Silk applied for in the past, but was turned down by the Utilities and Licensing Committee after neighbors staged a strong protest.
Two of the committee objections in the past for Silk have been a lack of parking space and the street-level entry that might attract attention. The Milwaukee Street location has two large parking ramps nearby and the entrance would be on the fourth floor.
In February, Silk won a half-million dollar judgement against the city in relation to failure to grant a previous license. The city has appealed that federal court ruling to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and reports are that negotiations are in the works for a settlement.
Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents Downtown, recently took note of the award, which will be nearly a million dollars after attorney fees are included, and he said the council ought to consider whether the city actually wants to spend all that money on an issue like this.
"There are a lot of needs in this city," Bauman said. "I wonder if we want to keep spending money on strip club application lawsuits."
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