“I really want to thank the jury:” Jury awards $435K to Silk Exotic after lawsuit filed against city of Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It is a big win for the owners of Silk Exotic as they continue their years-long fight for a club in downtown Milwaukee. On Thursday, February 19th, a federal jury awarded them nearly half-a-million dollars.

The judgement was reached after a two-day trial. Silk had argued that the ordinances used to reject their license were unconstitutional, and a jury agreed.

"I really want to thank the jury," Silk Exotic owner Joe Ferraro said.

Ferraro says he's been trying for eight years to build a gentleman's club in downtown Milwaukee. The last few years, he's taken the fight to court.

"Hopefully soon. We`re still actively pursuing. I don`t like spending time in court. I`d rather spend time running clubs," Ferraro said.

Now, a federal jury has taken action on a Silk lawsuit that sought damages for revenue lost because the city would not grant a license to open a club downtown. The jury awarded Silk about $435,000.

"435,000 dollars is not chicken feed, even to them. There will be almost as much in attorney`s fees," Jeff Scott Olson, the attorney for Silk Exotic said.

The City Attorney's Office says it accepts the jury's decision, but it doesn't agree with it. It will decide within the next month whether to appeal.

"The jury verdict today is not the last word on this issue," Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman said.

Alderman Bauman says he's surprised by the jury's decision. He says the City Attorney's Office believed it wasn't vulnerable to damages. Bauman has spoken out against Silk moving into a downtown location in the past, and he wasn't alone.

"Strong opposition from property owners, business owners and business organizations and residents," Bauman said.

Bauman says this judgement could affect the Licensing Committee's decision the next time Silk Exotic tries to secure a spot.

"It would be only natural that we would be concerned about six figure money judgments being entered against the city," Bauman said.

Silk's owner says he expects he'll be seeking another license sometime in the next three months. He isn't saying exactly where that club would be yet.

Silk has a second lawsuit filed against the city of Milwaukee with similar allegations. That suit is still making its way through the courts.

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11 comments

  • why

    Why stop a business man from investing in the community? If you don’t like the type of business you aren’t forced to pay or participate. I guess it would be smarter to have a building empty causing more of an eye sore. This type of business would create jobs and surveillance to the area that local police have OBVIOUSLY ignored.

    • Mr. Bob

      I totally agree with you WHY. These self righteous common council members are going to save us from the so called undesirables. What a joke. Taxpayers should really question them as to why they write unconstitutional ordinances that end up costing the taxpayer money as opposed to allowing the license which would translate to more tax dollars in the city coffers when Silk develops their club in an otherwise vacant building.

  • ELS

    It’s very sad that smut peddlers are going to cost tax payers the money they were awarded. Do the smut peddlers believe they’ll endear themselves to the community in this way? I guess this is indeed where our society is going, glad I moved out of Milwaukee. Disgusting.

    • James

      I absolutely agree. I remember when they put Hooters downtown, it was pretty weird with all the school kids standing on the bus stop and you have women with their bodies exposed a couple of feet away. I don’t agree with this establishment being downtown. I know those property owners aren’t happy about that at all. Truly surprised by this judgment.

    • Mr. Bob

      Els, smut peddlers really??? You are a fool. What about the adult toy stores in Milwaukee? Are you against them as well? Why are they allowed to conduct their business and the city denies Silk a second location? Anyone entering Silk must be of legal drinking age (21). Nobody is forced to go there. They also pay a cover charge to get in the club, all of their own free will. Who are you to determine what smut is?? What you consider smut is not smut to the next person. The owners deserve this settlement because they were discriminated against by the city. Good for the owners of Silk!! And when the next suit gets decided Milwaukee will owe them even more money!! Good for the owners of Silk!! Of course if you are a city of Milwaukee taxpayer this is bad for you because the city money used to pay off these lawsuits could have been used for something else but because of their stupidity and discriminatory practices they have to pay the owners of Silk. Go check out the club once before you judge at as smut you loser!!

  • Mr. Bob

    “The jury verdict today is not the last word on this issue,” Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman said. Alderman Bauman says he’s surprised by the jury’s decision. He says the City Attorney’s Office believed it wasn’t vulnerable to damages. Bauman has spoken out against Silk moving into a downtown location in the past, and he wasn’t alone.
    Well Bob Bauman, the city attorney’s office was wrong once again!! Now stop discriminating against these people and let them open their club in downtown Milwaukee. And also, PAY UP!!! Don’t waste more taxpayer dollars appealing the decision because that other lawsuit is coming right at you Bobby boy!!!

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