Common Council approves Silk Exotic’s license request for downtown strip club

MILWAUKEE -- After seven years of trying, Silk Exotic's license request for a downtown Milwaukee strip club was approved by the Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday, May 9th.

There are 15 members on the council, but only a few members were outspoken in their opposition against granting the license. In the end, the vote was 10-5.

"I think not only is sending this back to committee highly reckless, it's downright negligent," said Alderman Tony Zielinski.

Tony Zielinski

The council debated whether they should even vote on Silk's application -- or allow the licensing committee to hear additional testimony about Silk's business plan.

"I think the council would be compounding a mistake if we didn't refer this back to committee," said Alderman Nik Kovac.

Alderman Bob Bauman has been the most outspoken against granting Silk a license.

Bob Bauman

"And if that's what we want to do, if we're so bound and determined to get rid of these lawsuits, that we throw fairness to the wind," said Bauman, opposes license.

Silk won a lawsuit against the city last year, and its owners have offered to withdraw a pending lawsuit if granted a license for a downtown gentlemen's club.

Silk Exotic

"Judge Edelman wants this to be handled in an expeditious manner and quite candidly, our sending this back and delaying this runs in the face of that," said Alderman James Bohl.

Milwaukee Common Council

Ultimately, a motion by Bauman to send the application back to committee was voted down.

"I believe the applicants have an excellent record of running these types of establishments not only in Milwaukee, but throughout the state of Wisconsin," said Zielinski.

After nearly two hours of discussion, the council voted 10-5 in favor of Silk's application to open a strip club at 730 North Old World Third Street.

730 North Old World Third Street

730 North Old World Third Street

"Nothing we did today solves the problem that created the litigation in the first place," said Bauman.

"At the end of the day, you saw that there was only five people opposed to this out of 15, and that is actually pretty good for the council," said Zielinski.

The council also voted 10-5 in favor of approving the license for the Old World Third location and eventually voted 10-5 in favor of the terms of settlement, essentially ending Silk's pending lawsuit against the city.