The city of Milwaukee is facing another lawsuit by a bar owner who wants to open a strip club on Old World Third Street downtown.
The suit comes from Boardroom Entertainment MKE, LLC, which is the Buzdum family, of Slinger, who have been trying since last fall to regain their license for 730 N. Old World Third St., where they have a 29-year lease.
Dusanka Buzdum lost her license in January 2015, when Milwaukee police found dancers wearing pasties and bikini bottoms dancing at her bar, Rusty’s Old 50. She was denied a license in September.
[caption id="attachment_128693" align="alignright" width="350"] 730 N. Old World Third is where Boardroom Entertainment MKE wants to put a strip club.[/caption]
In January 2016, Dusanka’s brother, Boro Buzdum requested a license for the same location saying he wanted to open a strip club called 10 Exotic. He too was denied.
As promised, the family is suing, and on Jan. 20, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa denied the city’s motion to dismiss, so the case will move forward.
“(The city ) has got to show a legitimate reason – other than the neighbors don’t like it – that this type of business causes some type of harm that is different than a bar,” said Wayne Giampietro, a Chicago attorney who represents Boardroom Entertainment. “I don’t see how they will ever be able to establish that.”
Assistant City Attorney Adam Stephens, who has been handling the strip club cases, said this is the same location Silk Exotic tried for years to open a strip club and was denied.
"Nothing substantially has changed as to the inappropriateness of this location," Stephens said. "Every application gets a full vetting and appropriateness is based on the criteria of the ordinance. Our job is to defend the discretion of the Common Council and we will continue to do that."
At this point, Boardroom Entertainment is seeking a declaration that denying a license is unconstitutional, Giampietro said.
“We have not asked for damages, but we might, depending on our assessment of how long this has gone on and how much this has caused to keep a lease on a property that they can not use,” Giampietro said.
The city has already been ordered to pay Silk Exotic nearly $1 million for denying those club owners a license in downtown Milwaukee.
Silk was awarded $435,500 in February 2015, for revenue lost to Silk because the city would not grant owners a club in downtown Milwaukee. In October, the city was ordered to pay Silk owners $482,586 to cover attorney fees and out-of-pocket expenses following a different lawsuit the company’s owners brought forth in 2014.
The suit is on appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments were made in November.
Meanwhile, Sara Furey Crandall, a trial consultant with The Jeff Scott Olson Law, which represents Six Star Holdings, LLC and Ferol, LLC, the entities formed by Silk owner Jon Ferraro and his partners for the purposes of opening a downtown club, said Ferraro is still in the process of looking at several locations downtown and within the vicinity, including St. Paul Avenue.