Owner of 618 Live on Water plans to fight license suspension

618 Live on Water a.k.a. Ladybug Club

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by Lane Kimble

MILWAUKEE -- The owner of 618 Live on Water, also known as the Ladybug Club, says he's being bullied out of business and isn't ready to close his doors for good yet. 

618 Live on Water General Manager Habib Manjee wants Milwaukee leaders to know he's not going anywhere. The city has warned and even suspended Manjee's license to operate the nightclub. 

Management from the nearby Hilton hotel has filed several noise complaints since 2007. Manjee says, "I'm getting targeted, suspension, bullied. It's just an ongoing process every year."

The Milwaukee Common Council recently voted to suspend the club's license after representatives from the nearby Hilton blamed the club for shootings in the area. Manjee says he's never had problems inside or even outside his club.

Manjee believes the complaints are race-based, because his club caters to an African-American audience. He says, "I'm tired of hearing 'these people'. It's not 'these people'. They have a right to come downtown and they have a right to be there where they have to go."

"I'm still going to cater to African-Americans and nobody's going to stop me, okay? I will fight this thing all the way," said Manjee.

Manjee says Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman wants to shut down his business, and forced him into signing a sales agreement with the owners of Silk Exotic, a local strip club.

"He said, 'If you don't sell it. If I don't see the contract by Tuesday, I will go on the floor and revoke your license. I did it before. I'm going to do it again,'" Manjee recounted.

We reached out to Alderman Bauman, but said he will not  respond to Manjee's allegations.  "On two occasions over the last six weeks nine council members voted to impose a 90 day suspension," Bauman said in an email.  "Mr. Habib is entitled to his opinion.  I will not dignify them with a comment."

Manjee tells CBS 58 he reluctantly agreed to a limited contract with the owner of Silk Exotic, but has no plans to go through with the sale. We're told the agreement with Silk only holds if the strip club can get a license and lease.

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