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Owner of strip club sues Grants Pass

GRANTS PASS, Oregon — A strip-club owner has filed a $3.6 million federal lawsuit against the city of Grants Pass, claiming that the city expanded a downtown park to prevent him from building another strip club.

Larry Lacey, the owner of Club 71 in Sunny Valley, said he began negotiations in March to buy the former Palace Hotel in downtown Grants Pass.

He said that when rumors circulated that he intended to open a strip club there, the city began a campaign to prevent him from opening a club.

The City Council in April began negotiations to acquire additional land to expand a park near the hotel. Playground equipment was installed that month, allowing the city to argue that a club would violate a city ordinance, Lacey claims in the lawsuit.

The city said in April that it was expanding the park at the request of 100 residents who had petitioned the previous fall for improvements.

City Attorney Ulys Stapleton could not be reached for comment.

In addition to the park issue, Lacey alleged in his suit that the city deliberately delayed the issuance of permits for the hotel renovation.

In June, the city posted a stop-work order, saying that permits had not been obtained. In July, the city closed the building and the downstairs Hunan Garden restaurant because of structural-safety concerns.

The city authorized reoccupancy last month after Lacey put roof supports back in place.

Lacey said the city’s actions violated his constitutional right to free speech.

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