Clyman Board Approves Strip Club Liquor License, Discusses Demerit Ordinance

(Clyman) With little discussion, the Clyman Village Board Monday night approved a liquor license for the Hardware Store. There was however extensive talk about the possible implementation of a demerit point ordinance. At issue is alleged incidents of sex-trafficking at the strip club as outlined in a federal indictment.

During a public comment period after the vote to approve the license, a half dozen of the 28 citizens in attendance criticized the board’s decision. Gene Schmidt of the Christian Leaders Coalition of Watertown called the approval “unconscionable” saying there have been several legal precedents where liquor licenses have been denied for lesser infractions.

Village Attorney Katherine Koepsell noted that the federal case has yet to be resolved and explained that the process for rejecting a liquor license requires a municipality to notify the establishment prior to June 15; otherwise issuance is mandated by June 30.

Koepsell detailed the process to implement a demerit point system and explained that she has reviewed ordinances from the Town of Lebanon and the city of Beaver Dam, among others. The board agreed by consensus to have her draft a village ordinance based on one recently enacted in Lebanon but tailored to Clyman’s needs.

Implementation would allow the village to identify offenses like fights, underage drinking and prostitution. Violations would be measured by a point system established by the board for each offense. If any business with a liquor license accumulates too many points within a pre-designated period, a hearing would be triggered that could result in monetary fines, license suspension or license revocation. The complaint for a liquor license violation could be submitted by any resident or a law enforcement official.

One of the concerns raised by the board was a 2004 settlement agreement between the village and the Hardware Store. It arose out of unsuccessful attempts to stop the strip club from doing business, a losing battle for all communities that did not already have ordinances prohibiting nude dancing on the books. Attorney Koepsell says the settlement only applies to nude dancing while a demerit point ordinance would cover a wide variety of illegal activities.

Village President Marty Pint says he believes the board is likely to enact the demerit point ordinance in coming months.

Pint was sworn-in last night as village president, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Mike Seigel who is one of the owners of the Hardware Store. Seigel is not implicated in any illegal activities; he resigned as the sex-trafficking allegations came to light. The four village board members will discuss the process for filling the vacancy on the five-person board at their next meeting.