Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm
Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman says he will not fight the latest proposal to open a strip club downtown.
Bauman, who represents the downtown area and has been a vocal critic of previous proposals to open strip clubs at 770-772 N. Milwaukee St. and 730 N. Old World Third Street, said he doesn’t object to the strip club application filed April 28 by the owner of the Ladybug Club, 622 N. Water St.
“I don’t know what the (Common) Council will do with this, but if (the Ladybug Club proposal) blows up we are making the argument for Silk (Exotic) and the Buzdums that the city somehow always finds an excuse to deny a downtown strip club,” Bauman said.
Six Star Holdings LLC, which includes the Silk Exotic strip club on Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee, and Boardroom Entertainment MKE, LLC, which includes members of the Buzdum family, have filed lawsuits against the city for repeatedly denying their requests to open a strip club in downtown Milwaukee. The city has already been ordered to pay Six Star Holdings nearly $1 million for denying club owners a hearing on a theater license several years ago, violating the group’s due process rights.
Last month, some aldermen worked to strike a deal with Radomir Buzdum and Silk Exotic owners Joe Modl and Scott Krahn to allow them to own and operate a strip club at 730 N. Old World Third in exchange for their lawsuits to be dropped. But the city’s Licensing Committee tabled the matter until later this month following hours of testimony from business owners objecting to the plan.
Bauman said the Old World Third location will never be appropriate for a strip club, especially now given the progress West Wisconsin Avenue has made including the redevelopment plan of the Shops of Grand Avenue and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s plans to transform the Grand Theatre into its new performance hall.
However, the Ladybug Club, located in the Milwaukee Building at 622 N. Water St., is not a desirable place now, Bauman said.
“I’ve been a fierce antagonist of that operation for almost the entirety of its existence,” Bauman said. “They probably have the largest number of police incidence in this city. Converting to a gentleman’s club can’t be worse from a standpoint of disorder and consumption of police resources downtown.”
Habib Mangee, owner of the Ladybug Club, also known as 618 Live on Water, submitted the application to add adult entertainment, strippers, exotic dancing and also amusement and comics to the club. Mangee has not been reachable by phone or email.
This is the first time the Ladybug Club has submitted an application requesting adult entertainment, said Molly Kuether-Steele, with the city’s Licensing Division. A date has not yet been set to review the application, Kuether-Steele said.
Bauman said to the best of his knowledge the application was an independent move by Mangee and no other entity is involved.
In November, the Ladybug Club’s license was suspended for 15 days. It was suspended for 10 days in 2014, and for 90 days in 2013. All of the suspensions were related to fights or for staff not cooperating with police officers, Kuether-Steele said.
Since the Ladybug Club opened in 2005, there have been 84 police reports for the location, according to the city. Before opening the club, Mangee owned an Open Pantry at North 39th and West Villard Avenue where he was cited nine times for selling alcohol to minors, according to city records.
Bauman said if the city’s license committee approves Mangee’s application, the club could have strippers within a few weeks.
“They have a liquor license, a fully built-out stereo system and stages,” Bauman said. “They are basically a full functioning night club. They could probably easily convert to a gentleman’s club.”