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Detroit Hustler Club Still Owes 2010 Property Taxes

LINCOLN PARK, Michigan — from www.thenewsherald.com – Hustler Club Detroit owes almost $175,000 in property taxes from 2010, according to the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office.

The adult entertainment club, 980 John A. Papalas Drive, opened in December 2009 amid protests, including from area religious leaders.

Hustler Club Manager Ryan St. John said Tuesday that Modern Bookkeeping, based in Durand, pays the bills for the club.

“If it hasn’t been paid, I’m sure it will be paid,” St. John said. “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be paid.”

A phone call to Modern Bookkeeping was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

Property taxes are due to the city Dec. 1 each year. If they go unpaid by March 1, they are turned over to the county. At that point, the city charges a 7 percent fee and the county levies a 5 percent fee.

The county also charges 1 percent interest for every month it is delinquent.

Late property taxes, by businesses and residents alike, are not out of the ordinary, City Manager Steve Duchane said.

“(It’s) certainly nothing I haven’t seen before or won’t see again,” he said.

Some businesses have it in their business plans to be late on taxes for various reasons, Duchane said.

Duchane said he didn’t know anything of the club’s situation in particular, but it has been paid no special attention nor has it been neglected.

“We treat them the same as every other resident and business,” he said,

City Attorney Edward Zelenak said the city seeks payment on personal property taxes and the county has the burden to collect property taxes.

If the Hustler Club doesn’t pay its taxes by the end of the month, another $1,744 will be added to the $174,398 owed.

If the taxes are not paid by October, a $15 fee is added to each parcel of land in question. If taxes still are unpaid by March 1, 2012, the property would enter into forfeiture, a $201 recording fee would be charged and interest would be raised to 1.5 percent per month, going back to the time the taxes became delinquent.

If the taxes are not paid by March 1, 2013, Wayne County Circuit Court would put in a judgment of foreclosure and the owner would have until the end of that month to pay the taxes, fees and interest in full to avoid losing the property.

Then, on April 1, 2013, if the taxes are not paid, the owner would lose rights to the land, and the deed to the property would be transferred to the county treasurer’s office. The property then could be sold at auction in September or October 2013.

Many residents condemned the Hustler Club’s opening, saying a topless bar would increase drug use, prostitution and other crime in the city. Members of several religious groups protested regularly in front of City Hall, and a group of pastors went to Lansing to try to stop the club’s liquor license transfer, all to no avail.

One of the club’s attorneys sued the city in 2007 over zoning ordinance laws he claimed were unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmonds prevented what could have been a long court battle by approving an agreement between the city and the club in which the city would not enforce the disputed ordinances if the Park Theatre, an adult-oriented business on Fort Street, would close.

The theater, which was a strip club for years until 2002 when police raided and cited it for health code violations, was an adult-themed store and peep show until it closed in 2008. It has since been sold to the nonprofit Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, which plans to renovate it and turn it into residential lofts and retail space.

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