(Lebanon) The Lebanon Town Board on Thursday approved a liquor license for TNT Gentleman’s Club. The license renewal was called into question after alleged incidents of sex-trafficking at the strip club came to light in a federal indictment. Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt and several deputies recounted alleged criminal activities at the establishment over the past year.
During the meeting, Attorney Jeff Olson, who represents TNT’s, said the town board and Town Attorney Matt Parmentier should be disqualified as judge’s in the proceedings. He says each has read the criminal complaint referencing alleged illegal activity at the club and has preexisting knowledge of highly-prejudicial information that could affect their ability to make a neutral decision. Olson also noted a letter of intent from the board sent last week indicating their interest in denying the license. He says the letter compromises due process which is promised to his client by state statutes.
After a 90-minute closed session, Parmentier outlined a proposed agreement between both parties which, if approved, would grant TNT a liquor license. The first stipulation agreed upon states that TNT would close for fifteen days, from July 1 to July 15. The second states that the club waives their rights to file further lawsuits based on the events leading up to Thursday’s hearing as well as what transpired during the hearing. Lastly, the town reserves the right to take action against the club’s liquor license in the event of future violations or if any pending investigation reveals additional violations.
Town Board Chairperson Lohny Fredrick made the motion to approve the license with the stipulations, which was seconded by Board Supervisor Greg Fredrick. The resolution was then approved by a 2-1 vote, with Board Supervisor Leroy Tietz voting no.
Attorney Parmentier says while the details surrounding the case are concerning, there are still part of an ongoing investigation and approval for a liquor license is needed by June 30.
Chairperson Fredrick gave a stern warning to club owner Rad Buzdum, telling him that he needs to properly train his staff on what is and what is not allowed inside the business and to call 911 when needed. He added that this was not the direction the board wanted to go and says that Buzdum needs to take responsibility for what happens there in the future.
Buzdum, who has been the owner of TNT’s for five years, says he was blinded-sided by the entire situation and wishes the girls would have come forward sooner to say something which could have fixed the problem. He said the club will do whatever is necessary moving forward, adding that this type of behavior does not help anyone and that the club is there to help the dancers. Buzdum says when the club re-opens it will do so under a new name in hopes of moving on from the past.
The town of Lebanon does have a demerit point ordinance on the books. Adopted in the late fall of 2017, the ordinance gives the township the ability to revoke the liquor license of establishments that fail to follow the law. Fredrick says Lebanon will not hesitate to take action against the club if the need arises.