Another downtown strip club proposal denied

Applicant says he will likely sue the city

730 N. Old World Third is where Silk owners are planning to open a strip club.

After hearing more than an hour of opposition, the Milwaukee Common Council’s Licenses Committee unanimously denied another proposal to open a strip club in downtown Milwaukee.Rusty's Old 50-2015-01-06

Boro Buzdum, of Slinger, wanted to open 10 Exotic at 730 N. Old World Third St. The space has been occupied by The Velvet Room, Martini Mike’s and most recently Rusty’s Old 50, which was operated by Buzdum’s sister, Dusanka Budzum, who lost her license a year ago when Milwaukee police found dancers wearing pasties and bikini bottoms and dancing in the bar.

Dusanka Budzum attempted to renew her licence for Rusty’s Old 50 on Sept. 17 but was denied by the city. Less than a month later, Boro Buzdum filed an application for 10 Exotic at the same location.

“I’ve been in the bar business for 32 years, just because I have relatives, I shouldn’t be thrown into the same category,” Boro Buzdum said, adding that he and his wife operate Sophia’s Pub & Eatery in Slinger and he manages another bar in Germantown.

Alderman Robert Bauman, who is not on the committee but represents the downtown, said Buzdum should be denied based on his lack of credibility. He also agreed with the dozens of business owners and homeowners who testified against the strip club, saying the establishment would bring down the value of the neighborhood.

“This has nothing to do with discrimination, it has to do with his believability,” Bauman said.

Before voting, the committee questioned Buzdum about statements he made to a reporter over the weekend about suing the city if his application is denied.

“If it’s a step I have to take, unfortunately, that’s a step I’ll have to take,” he said.

Silk Exotic, which wants to open a strip club in downtown Milwaukee but has been denied several times, is suing the city and has already won a case and a ruling that the city pay its legal fees. As of right now, the city owes Silk close to $1 million.

Before voting on Buzdum’s application, several people spoke in opposition, including Michael Hatch, an attorney with Foley and Lardner who represents the new owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue, which is less than a block from the proposed strip club.

“The new owners spent over $24 million and have a plan to extensively enhance and revitalize the mall, build on the residential, and create a lively, family-friendly atmosphere during the day and night, this is totally inconsistent with that plan,” Hatch said.

When asked by the committee what the new owners are planning for the mall, Hatch would not give specifics, other than say they plan on expanding the hours of the food court so it would possibly be open 18 hours a day.

He also said some of the existing retail and new retail would open onto the street.

“Plans are still under development, no housing is likely to happen at the mall itself, but the plans will by synergistic with the housing that is already happening in that neighborhood,” Hatch said.

Robert Monnat, chief operating officer of Mandel Group, also spoke out against the strip club, saying when Mandel began building, there were only 215 households in the Westown neighborhood.

Today, there are 400 new residential units being planned in the area and thousands of people who have moved to the neighborhood, he said.

“It’s no different than Walker’s Point or the Third Ward,” Monnat said. “People now recognize this as a residential neighborhood. We’re very supportive of bars and restaurants, but we’ve never heard that having a strip club as a neighbor is an attribute for a homeowner.”

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