Saturday, February 21, 2004

Bristol's club begins paying off its debt to Clear Channel

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

MONROE - The music - and the dancing - has yet to die at Bristol's Show Club and Revue.

The exotic-dance club, run by Cincinnati-based WFO Corp., has - under threat of court seizure - started paying back Clear Channel for a series of radio ads.

The Clear Channel lawsuit, filed in March 2002, sought more than $67,000 in fees for a string of Bristol's advertisements run on WEBN-FM (102.7) and WOFX-FM (92.5).

Clear Channel attorney Matthew T. MacLeid said Bristol's began paying back the debt this month, but declined to elaborate.

After ruling in favor of Clear Channel last October, court officials tried to seize the money from WFO's U.S. Bank accounts, but found them empty, according to court documents.

James R. Hartke, Bristol's attorney in the Clear Channel dispute, said he couldn't confirm whether payments had been made or not. While his client fell behind in payments, he said, there was "never any question about the amount owed."

"It is a balancing of interests," he said. "If they (Clear Channel) put WFO out of business, they would not get anything."

Terry Wolfe, spokesman for Bristol's and husband of owner Giselle Wolfe, said this week that the club along I-75 in Warren County was "back on track" after the latest round of legal problems.

Currently, the club has 80 dancers, or "independent contractors," and 22 employees, Wolfe said. He said Bristol's was financially stable and plans to add a second location on the Las Vegas strip.

In March 2002, police raided Bristol's after an undercover investigation, arresting more than 30 employees, dancers and bartenders on drug, alcohol and prostitution charges.

In November, William F. Fox Jr., who owns the property Bristol's sits on, sued, claiming the club's lease had expired. The club later counter-sued Fox for wrongful eviction. Both lawsuits are pending in Warren County Court.


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