Saturday, April 03, 1999

Strip club attorney vows 'vigorous' fight


Police issue 24 citations

BY RANDY McNUTT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Customers applauded at the new Diamonds Cabaret late Thursday, but not for the exotic dancers.

        Visitors were happy to see Hamilton police leave the building.

        Early Friday, officers announced they had issued 24 misdemeanor citations at the club, 787 NW Washington Blvd., on Hamilton's west side.

        “The charges will be vigorously fought,” said Louis Sirkin, the club's Cincinnati attorney. “I don't think there was any violation of law. I think the dancers are constitutionally protected.”

        Late Thursday, 10 dancers received two citations each for allegedly violating a city ordinance that prohibits unlawful “exposure, counseling and exemption.” Specifically, the ordinance reads: “No person shall cause, permit, procure, solicit, counsel or assist any person to expose or simulate exposure.”

        The club's manager also received four citations for an ordinance that regulates establishments offering live dancing performances.

        Vice squad detectives witnessed the alleged violations during an undercover investigation. Club employees will appear in Hamilton Municipal

        Court on the charges at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

        Although he disagreed with the show's disruption, Mr. Sirkin commended Hamilton's city manager and police for their politeness and professionalism during the arrests.

        “The club reopened as soon as the officers left,” he said. “A substantial number of people remained in the bar. They applauded when officers left.”

        Hamilton officials are unhappy with Diamonds, which opened Monday without notifying the city. On Thursday, City Manager Steve Sorrell said the club did finally inform the city. Inspectors were to visit the club, probably Friday, to look for any health, zoning or building violations, he said. It is the same kind of inspection that any new business would receive, he said.

        City Councilman Richard Holzberger questioned the timing of the club's opening. Less than a year after Doubleday's Bar and Grill received a liquor permit on May 1, 1998, the business became an adult club.

        Diamonds' liquor license — owned by Doubleday's Hamilton, a limited liability company — hasn't changed because the business was known as Doubleday's Grill and Tavern, said Patty Haskins, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control in Columbus.

        “If there is no change in ownership,” she said, “then they (owners) don't have to notify us of a change in operations.”

        Mr. Sirkin said Hamilton's Diamonds is affiliated with — but not owned by — the Diamonds club on Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Montgomery County's Washington Township.

        According to Ms. Haskins, the Montgomery County club is owned by Planet Earth Entertainment Inc. and is operated by Lucas Liakos, president, and Scott Richard Conrad, vice president.

        She said Hamilton's partnership members are Steve and Nicholas Liakos, both of Centerville. Steve Liakos is listed as general manager.

        Ms. Haskins said financial backers do not have to list their names on a liquor permit.

        While Hamilton seeks to deal with Diamonds, other area cities are fighting their own battles against adult entertainment. At the urging of residents, Dayton city commissioners Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution condemning adult entertainment businesses. By passing the resolution, the commissioners will try to close or move a number of X-rated establishments that have opened in the city.

        In Butler and Warren County, Diamonds isn't intimidating the competition.

        “They could open up next door to us and it wouldn't hurt our business,” said Mike McGee, day shift manager at Bristol's Show Club and Revue in Monroe.

        Management of the New York, New York club in Franklin could not be reached.

        Bristol's was the first adult club of its kind to open in the area, about six years ago. Mr. McGee said it has been successful because of its location — at Ohio 63 and Interstate 75 — and its large selection of performers.

        “We have 95 girls,” he said. “We're here to stay.”

       



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