The following article appeared on page 2 of the Watertown Daily Times, 10/14/08
Lawsuit against town, county pending LEBANON — A federal lawsuit has been filed against the Lebanon Town Board and Dodge County by owners of a newly opened “gentlemen’s club” in the town of Lebanon.
The suit was filed by owners of the club stating the town and county are in violation of the first and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution, according to Lebanon Town Board Chairman Lohny Fredrick.
Until the lawsuit is resolved, the “gentlemen’s club” continues to operate at the site of the former Home Plate Inn on County Highway R, Fredrick said.
“We have gotten lots of citizens input, none positive, all negative,” the chairman said.
“Basically, it is in for legal review,” Fredrick said. “We have an ordinance opposing this kind of business and they chose not to adhere to that right now,” he said.
“I am now logging complaints and any correspondence I am putting into a file for a later date,” Fredrick said. “I have not received any correspondence saying people like it here,” he added.
The board met last week at which time several town residents voiced concerns and opinions about the business, the chairman said. The board did not go into closed session to discuss the matter, he said.
The town board issued a liquor license to the Roadhouse Bar and Grill, the town chairman said. The owner portrayed the business as a bar and grill and was leaning toward a sports-bar environment, what the former Home Plate Inn had been, the town chairman said.
The Roadhouse Bar and Grill opened on July 1 and then turned into a “gentleman’s club” on Sept. 16 or 17, Fredrick said.
Town and county officials were then served the federal lawsuit which was filed in the seventh district federal court, which represents the southeastern portion of the state and northern Illinois.
“We have an ordinance that spells out clearly what they can and can’t do to obtain a liquor license and the county can grant a conditional use permit but they decided they didn’t need any permits and not go by our ordinance, based on what the lawsuit states,” Fredrick said.
No action has been taken on the lawsuit against the county and the town, other than to respond that the municipalities have received it, Fredrick said. The next step is a summary review to determine if there is just cause on either side, he said.
“At this point insurance lawyers are investigating the suit and there has been consulting between the town and the county to determine how to proceed,” the chairman said.
According to legal opinion, it would not be wise to shut down the establishment now as it would add to the interpretation of the lawsuit, Fredrick said.
The Home Plate Inn first began operating in the town in 1976. It was owned at that time by Will and Marilyn Eske. The restaurant was operated by Gail and Dorothy Schroeder from 1991 to June of 1994 when it was reopened by the Eskes. The Eskes sold the business to Rad Buzdum. Buzdum’s Supper Club closed at the end of June 2007 and was re-opened in August of that year by Ira Robins, a private investigator from Milwaukee who leased the building from Buzdum. The business was known at that time as Private Eye.