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Black Tail Shake Joint Fined $26,000

Tennessee- A Whitehaven strip club with a laundry list of prostitution complaints against it was fined $26,500 Wednesday, but will keep its beer permit.

The Memphis Alcohol Commission levied the penalties — about $750 per offense — against the Black Tail Shake Joint at 1741 E. Brooks and placed it on a 90-day probation.

Nearly a dozen undercover police officers with the Organized Crime Unit appeared before the beer board describing 35 incidents of prostitution and prohibited pornographic acts at the club in the last six months.

Club owner Charles G. “Jerry” Westlund denied the charges, insisting statements by police about the arrests of dancers were simply “allegations” and that no one had been convicted.

Westlund said he’s been harassed by police ever since he filed an internal affairs complaint claiming $3,500 in cash went missing after the organized crime unit took control of his club after previously shutting it down.

“It is an open secret … that their job is to run me out of town,” Westlund said. “There are five clubs within a mile of Black Tail, yet I somehow am responsible for 95 percent of the arrests up to November 1st of this year.”

The Black Tail also is in court facing public nuisance charges stemming from the string of prostitution arrests at the club. the District Attorney General’s Office filed a petition in August to shut it down.

Westlund said Wednesday he’s being unfairly penalized for the previous owners when the club operated as the King of Clubs, which was closed twice before being padlocked in December 2005 as a public nuisance. Westlund took ownership this year.

In the issue over the beer permit, Westlund accepted the fine in order to stay open. He says he will appeal.

The commission could have issued stiffer fines or revoked the club’s beer permit altogether, an action that would have effectively closed the club because beer sales are so integral to the survival of such businesses.

In a related matter, the commission refused to allow the club to change ownership in order to get a new permit.

Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons argued against the ownership transfer saying the proposed new owner, Rock E. Whittington, was merely an agent of the current owners.

“It is our position in the present nuisance action that this location should be permanently closed as an adult entertainment facility.”

Westlund also owns the controversial Downtown Dolls club at 600 Marshall near Sun Studios.


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