With a May 8 deadline looming, the war of words over a proposed strip club Downtown is escalating, as a coalition of powerful business interests remain opposed, while the mayor and members of the Common Council are on the other side, using Minneapolis as an example.
Patrick Curley, Mayor Tom Barrett's chief of staff, said Barrett "wants this settled sooner rather than later." Curley would not comment further on the record.
Alderman Jim Bohl was leading the fight for approval on the council, recognizing that the city faced a possible $10 million hit if lawsuits from the strip club owners proceeded. The city has also paid $1 million in a judgment in a lawsuit filed by Silk Exotic. The new proposed club Downtown will be called The Executive Lounge.
"We have to look out for the taxpayers on this," Bohl said. "There’s a lot of other things we could spend $10 million on."
Minneapolis has become a big part of this argument, following a letter from a Madison attorney, Jeff Scott Olson, who represents the applicants for the license.
OnMilwaukee obtained a copy of the letter, sent to Milwaukee Downtown (BID #21) attorney Deborah Tomczyk, from Olson. Beth Weirick, executive director of BID #21 has been one of the most vocal and passionate opponents of the license proposal for a property at 730 N. Old World 3rd St.
Part of the letter said:
"In your statement from April 24 you reiterated your objection that an adult entertainment establishment ‘has no place in the renaissance of Wisconsin Avenue,’ and you continued to object without making any realistic alternative suggestions. Instead, BID #21 cynically offered five alternative locations in a largely industrial area in the Menomonee Valley. Not surprisingly, the Menomonee Valley partners were opposed. And we don’t blame them. Land that is zoned for industrial use is not the appropriate place for an entertainment venue. Industrial land should be reserved to support businesses that can provide family-supporting, …