TOWN OF DARIEN
The same night they renewed a year-long license for the Vegas Gentlemen’s Club, members of the Darien Town Board said Tuesday they want to meet with Walworth County officials to seek countywide reform of ordinances that cover sexually oriented businesses.
A 30-minute discussion on renewing the club’s license centered on the arrest of several club employees who police say were involved in a large drug sweep through southern Wisconsin on Feb. 22.
Walworth County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Brand said the office would benefit from updates to the licensing process for sexually oriented businesses. He suggested requiring background checks on bouncers, bartenders, dancers and managers.
Brand compared possible changes to current oversight of massage therapists. He said would-be massage therapists in Walworth County must be finger-printed and photographed and undergo a background check at the sheriff’s office before obtaining a license.
“It seems to me that someone who is working in a sexually oriented business probably should have to pass the same background check as a massage therapist,” Brand said.
Under current law, nobody employed at a sexually oriented business has to undergo a background check or fingerprinting. Sexually oriented businesses include places such as adult motels and adult theaters.
Before the board voted, town of Darien Chairperson Cecil Logterman said the town has to “get the county on board” to pursue changes.
“We have to fix it so we can move forward,” Logterman said.
Town attorney Kim Howarth informed the board that the club’s owner, J.R. Schuster, did not violate any ordinances, and the town didn’t have a choice in the renewal. Board member Jim Terpstra voted against renewing the club’s license anyway.
Logterman said Schuster was not proven to be involved in the criminal activity of the employees that were arrested.
But the board put the club on notice, and Logterman told Schuster that if the club didn’t make corrections, the board could hold a hearing to pull the license.
Schuster told the board he was speechless about the arrests and that some of the responsibility falls on him.
“I knew I had to come and account for myself today,” Schuster said. “I have been moving to make changes. That’s all I have. This recent situation—I don’t have any explanation for it.”
Schuster said he plans to cooperate in efforts to clean up his business.
Recent drug-related arrests at the club or involving employees likely sparked the push for change.
On Feb. 22, April A. Esquivel and Armando Esquivel were arrested on several charges of delivering cocaine and assisting the delivery of cocaine between September 2017 and January 2018. According to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 28, some of the transactions took place at the club. April Esquivel was an employee at the club at the time, the complaint states.
Rosa E. Ibarra Camberos was also arrested on one charge of delivering cocaine, an incident that reportedly took place at the club. Camberos was a dancer at the club at the time, according the complaint.
The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration had been monitoring drug transactions inside and outside the club between September 2017 and January 2018, according to the complaint.