Last week the Hastings City Council approved a license for a new liquor store in Hastings. It wasn't exactly big news, but the man behind the new store certainly is no stranger to the spotlight.

He is Rich Jacobson, the Prescott, Wis., man who operated Jake's gentleman's club in Coates for a number of years before it was eventually shut down. In protest, he painted the long-vacant building hot pink.

Later, he was implicated in a voter fraud scheme before being cleared of the charges. He was required to pay for the City of Coates' legal fees related to a different case, and ended up doing so with 600,000 pennies he dumped on the table during a council meeting.

Last November, Jacobson painted the building and opened a liquor store in its space.

He has been encouraged at how it has done, and has now planned the store in Hastings. It will be located adjacent to Spin City laundry in the 1600 block of Vermillion Street. He plans to open it either on March 22 or March 29.

"There's a big open spot there ripe for the picking," he said. "It's close to my home. There's easy access in and out of the building. It's a very nice building, and it is appropriately sized."

Asked if he expects any brushback from Hastings residents regarding his past, Jacobson replied:

"I can't see Hastings having any problems with anything. It's a liquor store, and people in Hastings drink. That's been my experience."

The 3,100 square foot store will also sell cigarettes.

The Hastings City Council approved his permit last week. The council does not grant permits to anyone with a felony conviction on their record, but Jacobson has no such conviction on his record and the permit was granted without discussion as part of the consent agenda.

Jacobson is still in the entertainment business, too. He still operates a strip club in Bock, located between the Twin Cities and Mille Lacs.