By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer
The Howard County Alcoholic Beverage Board deadlocked Thursday on whether or not to renew the liquor license for Big Daddy’s strip club, after two board members cited ongoing problems with owner Dan Dumoulin’s clubs.
Board members Beth Harshman and Matt Grecu cited the “character” clause of Indiana’s liquor licensing rules in voting against the renewal.
Indiana State Excise Police Major Robin Poindexter and board member Kurt Reed voted in favor of the renewal, with Reed saying he was convinced Dumoulin has acted to remedy past violations, and Poindexter saying those speaking against the renewal hadn’t offered enough evidence.
The deadlock means the Big Daddy’s renewal will go before the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission. Poindexter said Thursday the case will likely be heard at the commission’s Feb. 1 meeting in Indianapolis.
A denial at the ATC meeting would be a huge blow to Dumoulin, who owns and operates three strip clubs in Kokomo, along with seven other businesses.
Dumoulin has had repeated run-ins with excise dating back to mid-2011, and is currently embroiled in a battle with the ATC over a request to obtain a liquor license for a new bar he’s hoping to open.
Dumoulin’s trouble started in June 2011, when state excise police began investigating a complaint of prostitution and drug use at Little Daddy’s strip club, 1527 S. Home Ave.
According to a notice of violation filed by the state in December 2011, officers said they saw a dancer smoke marijuana in the main room of the bar, had another dancer offer them sexual favors, saw one dancer disappear into a private room with a patron for 30 minutes, saw a man being served who was so intoxicated he’d urinated on himself and found used condoms in the bathroom and in the private room at Little Daddy’s. Dumoulin paid a $1,150 fine in February for that case.
In a separate investigation from October 2011, Dumoulin was cited for selling customers beer advertised as a premium brand, when in fact he was serving them Keystone Light, a budget brand. He paid $550 in fines to settle those allegations.
His most recent run-in with excise was in September, when the Grand Slam Pub (now renamed The Filling Station) was cited for allowing a minor to loiter and furnishing alcohol to a minor. That case is still pending.
Thursday, the local alcohol board considered another “tap switching” violation from October 2011, involving excise allegations that customers at Big Daddy’s ordering Miller Lite and Coors Lite were instead getting Budweiser or Bud Light.
Dumoulin was fined $500 for that violation.
At the Thursday hearing, Dumoulin blamed a disgruntled former employee for switching the taps. When one of the remonstrators present suggested that the allegations amounted to hearsay, since the former employee hadn’t been summoned or subpoenaed to address the allegations, Poindexter explained that hearsay was allowed at liquor board hearings.
Remonstrators have been trying for the past several years to get Dumoulin’s businesses shut down, sometimes claiming that his strip clubs degrade community standards, and sometimes citing Dumoulin’s excise violations. About a dozen remonstrators attended Thursday’s liquor board hearing.
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.