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Omaha bikini bar Kandi's, formerly Candyland, denied liquor license

Posted at 3:39 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 06:59:17-04

The state's Liquor Control Commission voted 3-0 to deny a license to a proposed bikini bar at 72nd and Blondo. 

Kandi's, originally named Candyland, planned to feature women dancing in lingerire at the old Mount Fuji Inn. However, the commission heard a large number of neighbors who did not want the business in their backyard. 

The Omaha City Council rejected a recommendation for the establishment back in July and the Commission said that played a role in their decision. Another major factor was the hundreds of emails received by local officials opposing Kandi's. 

The commission even had to change locations for the hearing because of the number of people who opposed the business. 

A lawyer for the proposed owner said he is willing to listen to concerns of neighbors and is considering an appeal.

The Nebraska Liquor Commission had to change locations for Kandi's bikini bar's license hearing due to the number of people who opposed it. Commissioners appeared to hear their message.

The Liquor Control Commission unanimously denied a liquor license for Kandi's Bikini Bar, citing neighborhood concerns. Residents and business owners turned out in droves to protest the proposed business in the old Mt. Fuji Inn.

Commissioner Bruce Bailey says he hasn't seen this many people show up for a hearing since the White Clay hearing in April 2017.

"I'm from that neighborhood, and it doesn't surprise me they've turned up in the busloads. That is a very strong neighborhood, they support every business that's there, but it is a very family oriented, Christian type neighborhood," Bailey said. 

One by one, opponents told the board if they gave Raymond Kurtzuba a liquor license to run the bikini bar, there would be parking concerns, surrounding businesses would lose money, and students from nearby schools would be unsafe walking in the area. 

State senator Theresa Thibodeau says she received over 100 emails from her constituents.

"From traffic concerns, to children walking across the street after school, being hit by a car from somebody trying to leave the establishment, for it being a recruiting ground for prostitution and or sex trafficking" Thibodeau said. 

Kurtzuba's attorney Kyle McGinn argued his client changed the name of the business from Candyland to Kandi's and opted to not have private rooms inside because of neighbors' complaints. 

He also pointed to two other bars nearby. 

"There are already, within a stone's throw of this proposed business, two bars which serve alcohol and food during the day, just as this proposed facility would do," he said.

McGinn said after the decision, they're considering an appeal. 

“Well certainly one avenue is always relief in the district court system," he said. "That's something we have to talk about with our client when we have more time to consider."