Thursday, October 28, 2004

Exotic club fees delayed

Kenton Co. backs off until first of January

By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - Exotic dance clubs here will get a two-month reprieve before they have to pay Kenton County a new licensing fee for sexually oriented businesses.

The delay in the deadline means club owners won't have to pay two special licensing fees this year - one to the city of Covington and one to Kenton County.

Kenton has five adult clubs - all in Covington - down from a high of 12 about 10 years ago.

Kenton County Fiscal Court unanimously agreed this week to move the deadline for existing sexually oriented businesses from Oct. 30 to Jan. 1.

County officials made the change after four clubs - Rodney's LeFoxx Cabaret, Viva LaFoxx Cabaret, The Pad and Club Venus - filed suit Oct. 12, saying the new law violates their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and expression.

Friday's hearing at which lawyers for the four clubs had hoped to persuade a federal judge to halt enforcement of the sexually oriented business law has now been rescheduled for Dec. 22.

U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning will hear arguments from lawyers representing the clubs and three women who work for them.

The clubs say Kenton County's annual business license fee of $3,000 is excessive.

They say they should be able to credit the special licensing fee that strip clubs, adult bookstores, escort services and other sexually oriented businesses now pay Covington against any fee owed to the county.

Kenton County will take over licensing duties for the entire county after Covington's licensing fee expires Dec. 31.

Current sexually oriented businesses will have until Jan. 1 to pay the licensing fee. Managers and employees of existing clubs and other adult businesses also have until the first of the year to buy a $155 annual business license.

However, any new sexually oriented businesses that open in the county before the end of the year will still have to pay licensing fees this year, Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson said.

Kenton County's sexually oriented business law specifies operating conditions and licensing fees for businesses that provide live, sexually oriented entertainment.

After a warning, first-time offenders of the Class B misdemeanor would face a fine of up to $250 and/or six months in jail.

Licensees also can accumulate points for various violations that can result in license suspension or revocation.


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