(Juneau) Against the advice of legal counsel, the Juneau Common Council failed to act on a liquor license Tuesday night for the Solomon strip club, effectively rejecting the license.
A Hartford man is facing federal Sex Trafficking charges in an indictment alleging that four women were forced to dance at area strip clubs for no pay and perform sexual acts for money that he kept. The offenses reportedly occurred at TNT Gentlemen’s Club in Lebanon and the Hardware Store in Clyman. While Solomon was not mentioned in the complaint, the same person owns both Solomon and the Hardware Store.
Among those in attendance speaking in opposition to the license issuance were Dodgeland School Board President Jeff Caine, Tracy Sheffler with the anti-sex trafficking group Five Stones of Beaver Dam and the Reverend Gene Schmidt with the Christian Life Family Church in Watertown.
Reverend Schmidt says it is appalling that a business with cases of human sex trafficking still wants city leaders to offer them a liquor license. “It should be out of the question” he says.
Alderwoman Kay Marose made a motion to approve the license, which ultimately failed for lack of a second. Marose says her concern as an elected official, in an effort to be a good steward of the taxpayers money, is that “this is a losing case.”
“I don’t like the establishment,” she says, “but we take an oath to the constitution of the state and we have to respect the laws that are in place and in my opinion I don’t see that we have the grounds to deny this.”
City Attorney Andrew Griggs agrees that city officials have no grounds for denial and says the lack of action could expose the city to litigation. Griggs recommends the city move forward with a demerit point ordinance, which is already working its way through committee and could come before the council for a vote by August. If adopted, it would allow the city to legally revoke the license of any establishment in the city that violates the law in any one of a number of different ways. The city still has until June 30 to approve the liquor license.
Listen to the meeting here: