Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Hustler store fights charge

Sex shop cited for operating near interstate

By Murray Evans
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - An attorney for a Hustler Hollywood store told a judge Monday that the store was not guilty of violating a Lexington zoning ordinance that prohibits adult-oriented businesses near interstate highway interchanges.

The city had cited the store July 29, three days after it began selling sexually oriented adult materials.

Monday's hearing in Fayette County District Court was the latest legal wrangling between Hustler Hollywood and the city. The two have cases pending against each other in district, circuit and federal court.

"We're ready for the fight," said H. Louis Sirkin of Cincinnati, an attorney for the store. "We've been prepared for it for several months.

"If you go out to the store, you'll find it's a really nice store. I don't know why people are up in arms about it. The word 'Hustler' is not a dirty word."

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government's law department Monday referred calls about the case to Bruce Edwards, the spokesman for Lexington Mayor Teresa Ann Isaac. Edwards said the city had no comment.

"This is not an issue that we're going to debate in the media," Edwards said. "The court will be the ultimate decision-maker."

Jimmy Flynt - the store's operator and the brother of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt - filed a federal lawsuit against the city July 23. The suit alleged that the city violated Jimmy Flynt's constitutional rights when the city council passed a zoning ordinance prohibiting adult bookstores, adult video stores, adult cabarets, sexual entertainment centers and adult dancing and entertainment establishments at interstate highway exchanges in Fayette County.

The Hustler Hollywood store sits near an interchange off Interstate 75.

Attorneys for both sides agreed to put off the federal case and try to address the constitutional issues in two cases before state courts.

Judge Bruce Bell set a Sept. 23 date for a pretrial hearing in the district court case.

Meanwhile, a Cracker Barrel restaurant has asked to intervene in a case pending in Fayette County Circuit Court. Court papers indicate that the restaurant's operators think that the nearby Hustler Hollywood store is "adverse" to the restaurant's business interests.

According to court documents, the developer of the Hustler Hollywood property initially received a permit to build a coffee shop with gift sales, but later sought a permit for the store to sell sexually oriented adult products. After the city's board of adjustment denied that application, the store sued the board in circuit court in January. No hearing is scheduled in that case, according to the circuit court clerk's office.

The Hustler Hollywood store, which includes a coffee shop, opened July 16 without adult materials for sale but began selling sexually oriented materials 10 days later.

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