Club Koyote is not the only business Michael Bickers has owned that has come under fire from a community.

In 1996, Bickers opened Capone’s, a Charleston, Ill., strip club that was located a few blocks from a high school, said Pam Werden, a Charleston resident who lived near the club.

After an outcry from the community, led in part by Werden, the Charleston City Council passed an ordinance that required adult establishments to be located in an industrial zone and at least 1,000 feet from residences, schools and churches, said former Charleston Mayor Dan Cougill.

The community’s petition drive “had 3,000 to 4,000 signatures,” said Werden, who was incensed the establishment could open so close to a school.

Capone’s closed later that year. A few months after the closing, Bickers was indicted on misdemeanor obscenity charges for activities that allegedly took place at the club, according to Coles County, Ill., online court case archives. But in 1999, a jury found him not guilty and he was acquitted of all charges, according to the archives.

Capone’s was not the only club Bickers owned that received intense scrutiny from the community.

In 1995, Cougill revoked Bickers’ liquor license for a Charleston bar called Panther’s Lounge. After reports of underage drinking, Bickers’ Illinois liquor license was taken away and Panther’s Lounge later closed, Cougill said.

Joanne Hammer can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or

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