At the Dec. 4 meeting of the Kosciusko County Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, the board finally made its recommendation on renewal of Stimmelator’s Gentlemen’s Club’s, located in North Webster, beer and liquor license.
There was much discussion on both sides of the issue. Attorney Jeff McKean came before the board and stated that he and his client, Sam Stimmel, had met with state excise police and determined that the only resolution would be to transfer ownership of the establishment to a new owner.
“We have been working to achieve that goal over six months or so,” McKean said. “[Don Carl] Gonzalez has purchased the ownership. The corporation remains the same. Mr. Gonzalez is now the 100 percent owner.”
Paperwork concerning the change in ownership has been filed with the ATC and Secretary of State. “Stimmel could no longer have any involvement in the business,” said McKean. He did mention that there would be a brief period where Stimmel would be involved in some training with the new owner.
McKean requested that the permit be renewed and remain in use for Night Shift of North Webster Inc., the company over Stimmelator’s. Gonzalez has been a resident of Indiana for the past five years. Dharmesh Patel, a friend of Gonzalez with a background in the hospitality industry, will be helping manage and finance the business.
There were a couple of remonstrators against the renewal of the license. Dino Zurzolo, with his attorney, Konrad Urberg, came before the board to object. On Sept. 18, Zurzolo, who has owned and operated ShangriLa ShowClub in Fort Wayne for 15 years, signed a letter of intent to purchase Stimmelator’s and paid Stimmel $25,000 in good faith that he would become the new owner of the business.
Stimmel reportedly backed out of the agreement to sell the business to Gonzalez. Zurzolo has filed a breach of contract complaint with the Kosciusko County court.
“We think its fraud. We think his license ought to be yanked,” said Zurzolo. “He’s going to continue in the business, with me, he wouldn’t be. The concern is this is not a legitimate situation.”
“This is a civil matter,” rebutted McKean “There’s all kinds of issues here, but that’s not what’s before the [commission] today.”
Officer Greg Church, representing the North Webster Police Department, also came before the board to remonstrate against the renewal. He noted the number of calls the police department responds to at the club. He also noted the criminal charges Stimmel is currently facing.
After an investigation, which resulted in his arrest on Oct. 31, 2013, Stimmel faces charges of C felony corrupt business influence, C felony promoting prostitution and two D felony counts of dealing in a synthetic drug/lookalike substance. (see related)
“We’re quite fed up with Sam,” said Board President Gordon Vanator. Ultimately, the board voted unanimously not to to recommend a renewal for the license. The state ATC board will hold a hearing on Dec. 18 to determine whether Stimmelator’s will be granted its renewal.
Additionally, the local board approved renewals for the Bulldog Saloon in Mentone, the Down Under in Syracuse, Turf Bar in Milford, and Service Liquors East and Spike’s Beach Bar/Noa Noa in Warsaw.