TAMPA – Joe Redner readily admits Mons Venus does not comply with all the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
But he says a lawsuit filed in federal court is frivolous because his iconic strip club was built long before the act went into effect, and therefore is exempted from the law governing access for disabled people.
Neither plaintiff Kendrick E. Duldulao nor his attorney, B. Bradley Weitz of Miami, could immediately be reached for comment.
“These people are nuts,” Redner said.
Since November, Duldulao has filed 26 lawsuits in Tampa federal court accusing businesses from Bern’s Steak House to Rick’s on the River of failing to comply with the federal law, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. About a dozen of the cases – including those involving Bern’s and Rick’s – have resulted in confidential settlements.
The ADA is credited with opening doors to millions of people with disabilities, giving them access to public buildings, transportation and jobs.
The lawsuit against Redner asserts that Mons Venus, 2040 N. Dale Mabry Highway, is covered by the law because it has undergone extensive renovations since the 1990 law took effect.
Redner says he has wanted to make renovations at the club for years but can’t get a permit from the city. He said he might invoke the ADA to try to get the city to let him renovate on the grounds that he has to make the club comply.
Among the 24 issues cited in Dudulao’s lawsuit: the lack of permanent ramps for platforms in the club; the height of the cashier’s stand; the lack of a securely attached mat at the entrance; an inaccessible jukebox; and accessibility in the bathrooms.
“I agree they’re noncompliant,” Redner said. “I want to fix them.”
Short of renovating, he said, Mons Venus does everything it can to accommodate customers in wheelchairs.
“Every person that comes in there that’s in a wheelchair gets in and gets upstairs and gets where they want to be,” Redner said. “We do accommodate people in wheelchairs every day just about.”
Redner said the club has portable ramps, and when necessary, people are carried where they want to be.
“We make sure they get around,” he said. “We get their money because I want their money just like everybody else. And they spend money. They are in wheelchairs and they’re looking for some female companionship.
“You tell all those people in wheelchairs to come on over,” he said. “We’ll take care of them. … Believe me we’ll take care of them.”