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Hustler Hollywood Opens in Florida Friday

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt is expanding his pornography empire to South Florida, opening an upscale sex shop despite opposition from this city’s mayor and others.

Hustler Hollywood is supposed to open Friday, and Flynt is scheduled to visit on Aug. 3.

“In every city we open a store there is always some politician who needs to showboat before his religious or conservative constituents about keeping us out,” said Flynt, 61, who’s currently on a national 19-city book tour.

Mayor Jim Naugle and city Commissioner Dean Trantalis spearheaded an attempt to block Flynt by changing a city zoning law.

Naugle and Trantalis wanted the ordinance changed so a store could be closed if a “substantial” amount of its inventory was of a sexual nature. But, after Flynt threatened to sue, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted against the notion.

Back story, Miami Herald 7/18/2004: Watch out, Mayor Jim Naugle and Commissioner Dean Trantalis.

The nation’s most infamous muckraking pornographer, Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt, is rolling his 14-karat gold-plated wheelchair into Fort Lauderdale to promote his sixth and newest shop, Hustler Hollywood, and sign copies of his new book — and there’s nothing they can do about it.

”In every city we open a store there is always some politician who needs to showboat before his religious or conservative constituents about keeping us out,” drawled Flynt, 61, currently on a national 19-city book tour.

Last Spring, Naugle and Trantalis spearheaded an attempt to block Flynt from opening his shop by changing the language in the zoning laws.

Currently ”less than half” of a store’s inventory can be sexually oriented if it’s within 500 feet of a residential area. Otherwise, the city can close it.

Naugle and Trantalis wanted the ordinance revamped to read that a store could be closed if a ”substantial” amount of its inventory was of a sexual nature.

But after Flynt, who doesn’t blink at spending millions to defend his business interests, threatened to sue, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted it down 3-2, with Naugle and Trantalis voting in favor.

“If Naugle and Trantalis thought for a second that they could have won in court, the commission would have voted in favor to change the language in their zoning laws. They knew the other commissioners and the city attorney had to answer to the law, which is why [the commission] voted against changing [its] ordinance.”

Needless to say, Naugle and Trantalis will not be rolling out the red carpet for Flynt.

”I am not happy about Flynt coming into town and opening his store,” Naugle said. “If he sends me an invitation where I have to call and RSVP, his phone is not going to ring.”

The store, located at 1500 E. Sunrise Blvd., is scheduled to open Friday at 9:30 a.m. Flynt arrives Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. to sign copies of his latest political opus: Sex, Lies & Politics: The Naked Truth — an entertaining treatise that attacks the Bush administration’s national and domestic policies.

Naugle said he disagrees with Flynt’s assessment — insisting that he and Trantalis were sincere in their opposition to Flynt’s store.

Furthermore, Naugle argues that changing the wording in the zoning law would have helped control what Flynt decides to sell and that the other three commissioners and the city attorney were shortsighted.

”We probably would not have been able to prevent the store from opening,” Naugle admitted, “but we could have regulated how much sexual material he could sell and what he could display in the windows.”

Trantalis said he agreed with Naugle’s comments.

Flynt insists that politicians know that his Hustler Hollywood stores are not sex stores in the traditional sense.

”These are upscale shops where sexuality is presented in a clean, healthy, natural way, which is why 50 percent of our customer base are women,” said Flynt of his stores that sell items ranging from cafe latte to lingerie to vibrating eggs.

“When we go to a city we carefully examine its zoning laws. But we know there is a battle that we have to go through every time because of our brand name.”

Those who face off against Flynt had better be careful. The porn mogul always moves onto the battlefield armed with a micro-manager’s knowledge of the opposition. His first line of attack? The offensive skills of super-attorney, Paul J. Cambria, who specializes in First Amendment, zoning and professional licensing issues.

When discussing the Fort Lauderdale situation, Flynt dissected it with an uncanny insider’s view, knowing the particulars of the case, including the names of those who opposed him.

He said if Fort Lauderdale had altered its zoning law he would have sued, fighting it to the bitter end. Fort Lauderdale, struggling to emerge from a budget crisis, likely could not afford to pick an expensive fight.

But Flynt says he never would have resorted to ”flynting” Naugle and Trantalis — using his name as a verb to describe his most infamous practice: seeking to out the sexual misbehavior of moralizing politicians.

”That is reserved for national figures like Bob Livingston and Bob Barr, hypocrites of the highest order,” laughed Flynt, of the two Republican former congressmen who fought to get President Clinton convicted of lying under oath about cheating on his wife, while carrying on their own infidelities.

”I’m not done with South Florida — my next stop is Miami Beach,” said Flynt, who is determined to open up a lavish gentlemen’s club, The Hustler Club, where men have to wear a tie to see topless women, as early as next year.

Flynt already has clubs in New Orleans and New York City.

His controversial stands touched off a 1978 assassination attempt that left him paralyzed and was explored in a 1996 film, The People vs. Larry Flynt.

“I love Miami Beach. I had some good times there 30 years ago. It will be a perfect fit there but again, I’ll have to combat certain forces who don’t know their own laws.”

Flynt says the battle to market sexual entertainment will take new legal directions with the growth of wireless communication. He predicts that, five years from now, home computers and televisions will merge as one.

”It’s a different world now,” said Flynt, who made his fortune marketing disturbing, sleaze porn. “People like going to clubs and stores that aren’t sleazy. They watch their porn at home.”

But as Flynt predicts a rosy future for his enterprises, Naugle hopes Hustler Hollywood will eventually display the same sign that hung outside the area’s once-infamous topless car wash and doughnut shop:

”Going out of business,” Naugle said.



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