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Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s campaign committee spent more than $1,700 for meals and lodging in Denver in late October. This included a $228 credit card charge on Oct. 20 at “Bavaria Inn” at 490 S. Colorado Blvd., according to the campaign’s Jan. 15 financial disclosure.
But the only establishment at that Denver address — and the only website associated with Bavaria Inn in Denver — is a strip club called Shotgun Willie’s.
According to online photos and commentary, the adult entertainment bar and grill features such events as “Topless Twister Tuesday” and “Amateur Strip Off Every Thursday” and “T-Bone Tuesdays,” where T-bone steaks are served from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. for $9.95 each.
At least two online reviews of the club say it offers even more: “Hot tip: if you happen to have a corporate expense account, fear not. You can charge EVERYTHING to your heart’s content because the receipts show the business name as ‘The Bavarian Inn,’ says one online review.
“Hey, the management even labels its receipts ‘Bavarian Inn’ so that your comptroller — or wife — simply thinks you’ve been eating a lot of schnitzel lately,” says another.
But Deputy County Executive Ed Ward said Wednesday that the campaign didn’t go to the club for the strippers, but for the food.
Ward said Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker and his wife went to Denver for the American Water Summit, sponsored in part by the county’s sewer operator, United Water, which recently changed its name to Suez Environment North America.
The Oct. 20-21 conference at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, which describes itself as an “AAA Four Diamond Hotel,” was attended by municipalities, sanitation and water companies, and financial firms from around the country, Ward said. Mangano did not attend, he added.
Walker was a scheduled speaker at an 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. round-table discussion of Nassau’s sewer contract, the conference agenda shows.
Ward said Walker and his wife went to dinner at the show club, which “was recommended by local people. It’s a roadside-type restaurant with a full menu. There is a bar, but there’s a restaurant as well.”
Rather than bill taxpayers for the meal, Walker submitted the $228 bill for dinner with his wife and others from the conference to the campaign for reimbursement, Ward said.
There were “no strippers” while Walker and his wife were there, Ward said — though a description and photos of the facilities at the Shotgun Willie’s website indicate that strippers are visible from any spot in the establishment
But what about the conference’s 6 p.m. cocktail hour and 7 p.m. to midnight “Gala Dinner,” sponsored by Suez, on the same night at the Hyatt?
Walker and crew “may have gone for a late lunch” at the club, and returned for the conference dinner, Ward said.
“I just know it was a meal,” he said.