Stripping threatens tavern's license

Nearly nude dancers prompt action by police, village against at Diamonds Pub

April 20, 2006

Nearly nude female dancers recently challenged Germantown's reputation as a strip tease-free suburb.

A dozen Germantown Police Department officers descended upon Diamonds Pub & Grill on April 8 and temporarily closed it. The action scattered up to 30 patrons. About five dancers -- clad in spike-heels and G-strings -- also were sent packing well before closing time.

Police Chief Peter Hoell said 12 officers were sent as precaution.

"We weren't sure of what the reaction of the patrons would be to nude dancers. So we had a number of officers in the event that it would get unruly," he explained.

No one was arrested in connection with the incident, a violation of a village ordinance prohibiting adult entertainment without a permit. The citation carries a fine of $172.

GPD Capt. Mike Snow said Diamonds owner Boro Buzdum complied, immediately closing his facility.

"He didn't have a lot to say as far as making a statement to the violation of the ordinance," Snow said, noting the performance lasted about 20 minutes.

Hoell said police learned of the dancers through a flier Buzdum made advertising the show.

Owner challenges law

On Buzdum's behalf, Madison-based attorney Jeff Scott Olson filed suit in federal court in Milwaukee in February, challenging a section of the village of Germantown's adult entertainment ordinance. Buzdum had constructed a stage at the bar earlier this year, with rumors circulating that it was for exotic dancers. He was informed of the village ordinance regarding nude dancing.

Olson has requested a jury trial for the case. The lawsuit contends the village's ordinance is "vague and overbroad" and violates the bar owner's free speech, due process and equal protection rights. Buzdum seeks an unknown amount of compensatory damages in connection with the case.

"But I guess the main thing is they don't have a permit for adult entertainment," Lear said.

Attorney Ray Pollen of the law firm Crivello, Carlson & Mentkowski is representing the village in the case. Pollen declined comment on the case. He did say a scheduling conference regarding Buzdum's lawsuit will be held soon in federal court in Milwaukee.

"We should know more about where this is going after that," Pollen said.

The one-night nude-dancing stand at Diamonds was hinted at in a recent exchange of letters between Olson and Pollen, Lear said.

"They were alleging to us, on a temporary basis, the law would allow them to have a certain amount of stripping while this federal court case is being litigated. We disagreed, obviously," Lear said.

License up for renewal

"This is blatant disregard for a municipal ordinance," Kempinski said. "If he wants to have gambling machines in there would we condone that?"

Kempinski said he will complain about Buzdum's action April 8 to the Public Safety Committee, which oversees operations of the Police and Fire departments and handles complaints about establishments serving alcohol.

Hoell said he would recommend to village officials that Diamonds' liquor license for 2006-07 not be renewed.

"Buzdum was contacted (by police) before the dancing and was told, 'We're aware of what you're planning. It's a violation of a village ordinance.' He was warned not to do it and went ahead anyway," Hoell said.

Village President Charles Hargan said Buzdum could lose his license renewal without a warning.

"It depends on how flagrant the violation is," he said. "It's not like serving alcohol to a minor where a warning might fit the circumstances."

Olson disagrees with Germantown officials, noting the dancing technically was not a violation of any village ordinance. He said the wording of village's ban on nude dancing applies only to performances presented "regularly, commonly habitually or consistently." The April 8 performance, which he described as "burlesque," was not such a show, he said, despite the fact that Buzdum printed and distributed fliers promoting the event.

"Mr. Buzdum told anybody that asked he was not doing this 'commonly' or 'regularly.' He also advertised it as a once-in-a lifetime event," he said. "In our view, the village is taking an extreme and unconstitutional interpretation of their ordinance."

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