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Larry Flynt strip club sues Monroe

MONROE, Ohio – A strip club that wants to open along Interstate 75 has filed a lawsuit claiming that the city is unfairly blocking its plans.

The suit, filed in federal District Court in Cincinnati, alleges that Monroe officials have purposely tried to prevent the club from opening by “creating a confusing and illogical labyrinth of regulations” to receive zoning approval, electrical permits and operating licenses.

The suit asks the court to force the city to issue the necessary permits and licenses. It also requests that the city pay at least $75,000 in damages, legal fees and court costs.

The club – to be called Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club – would be next door to the Hustler Hollywood adult products store. It would occupy the former Bristol’s Show Club site.

On Wednesday, Brad Shafer, a Lansing, Mich., lawyer, for the club, insisted the club had received a temporary certificate of occupancy and was ready to open. But city officials said that if the club was open, it was an illegal act.

But the city has yet to issue an occupancy permit because a building code issue with an exterior door had not been addressed, said Jay Stewart, Monroe’s director of development.

Monroe hasn’t tried to prevent the club from opening, city officials insisted. The city received applications from the club and its employees only late last week, said Jay Stewart, Monroe’s director of development. The license and permit applications take time to research and complete, he said.

“It’s not like we are happy about it, but there’s nothing we can really do to stop it as long as they follow the guidelines,” Mayor Robert Routson added.

As of Wednesday, the city had granted the club’s operators a temporary license to operate a sexually oriented business and four employees’ temporary licenses to work in one, Stewart said.

The city is conducting criminal background and other checks now on the applicants.

City Council late Tuesday voted to change the closing time for sexually oriented businesses to midnight instead of 2:30 a.m.

The club’s lawyer said it plans to challenge that restriction as well as requirements that ban dancers from being nude.

“It’s not only unfair, it’s unconstitutional,” Shafer said.

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