Janesville50.3°

Club closes its doors

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 14, 2008
— After several years of quarreling, hard feelings, partially naked women and legal action, Screamin' MeeMees is closed.

City Clerk Jean Wulf received a letter Friday from Jim and Rebecca Halbach relinquishing their adult entertainment license.


Janesville Police Chief Neil Mahan and Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary had encouraged the Halbachs and their attorney Scott McCarthy to give up the license.


Mahan said he had city ordinance violations that he was prepared to file with the city clerk. City ordinances governing such establishments outline what kind of activities can take place. Any kind of sexual activity is prohibited.


If those ordinance violations had been filed, the city council would have been asked to decide whether to rescind the license.


Jim Halbach, of 3337 S. Schuman Road, Orfordville, was arrested June 30 on 12 felony charges of keeping a place of prostitution and one misdemeanor charge of prostitution.


He turned himself in to the police and after his arrest was released with a July 28 court date.


Friday’s closure is another chapter in the long saga that began when the Halbachs bought the former grocery store in 2000. They wanted to open a tavern that would serve food and alcohol, but were denied the liquor license.


The Halbachs then opened the juice bar-strip club at the location.


Rebecca Halbach in June applied for a liquor license for the address, hoping to turn the venue into a tavern. Alcohol cannot be served at strip clubs in Janesville.


The request for the liquor license was withdrawn, however, the day after Jim Halbach was arrested.


Halbachs also own Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen, a tavern and strip bar at 6530 S. Highway 51 in Rock Township.


The Rock County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a separate but related investigation into possible prostitution at Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen.


The Halbachs’ attorney, Scott McCarthy, said the couple deny there’s been any criminal wrong doing at either facility.


McCarthy said Jim Halbach wants to “work cooperatively with the new city council,” and hopes relinquishing the adult entertainment license will be an “affirmative step in that process.”



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