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Read it Here First: Dr. John Files Lawsuit Against Sioux City

Sioux City, Iowa- While city officials inspected boxes of merchandise at Doctor John’s Lingerie Boutique Monday that contained dozens of X-rated movies, they were filmed themselves.

“A guy was videotaping us as we were in there,” assistant city attorney Rosanne Lienhard said Tuesday. “It was just like it was a reality TV show. The guy said ‘Showtime’ had contacted John Haltom in jail in Omaha and wanted a documentary.”

Haltom, the owner of the chain of adult-oriented boutiques, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Sioux City Tuesday against the city. Haltom told the Journal Friday he had just been released from jail in Omaha the day before on obscenity charges for selling a video at his Omaha store. He was at the Sioux City store Monday helping to unload new merchandise.

“Mr. Haltom offered both David (Brown) and myself alcoholic beverages, which we turned down,” Lienhard said. “While I was going through the boxes, he offered to show David ‘some of our goodies.’ David said that’s not what we were there for.”

Brown, the city’s inspections services manager, said the inspection Monday revealed that Haltom had fixed three building code issues that had to be completed before a certificate of occupancy could be granted.

Lienhard said the city was prepared to issue a certificate of occupancy Monday had not a truckload of merchandise been stocked in the store at 3507 Singing Hills Drive.

“If the store had looked the way it looked last week when I was in there and the merchandise was the way it was when I left, they would be open today,” she stressed.

Instead, on Monday, she said Haltom had completely restocked the store; prompting city officials to withhold the occupancy permit.

“The displays had totally been taken down and a good section of the entire back wall — which had some adult games and ‘bachelorette’ type of things before — was gone and it was all adult videos now,” she said. “There was a significantly less amount of clothes.”

On Friday, Lienhard said it appeared the lingerie and swimwear constituted from 60 to 75 percent of the merchandise. Not so on Monday.

“I did go through some of the 200 boxes in the store — they were stacked taller than I am and there were more boxes in the truck. I did not open the boxes but asked an employee to do so. I had about a dozen boxes opened in my presence. They were filled almost entirely with items that were on the ‘no’ list based upon my last visit. There were X-rated videos and merchandise several steps worse than the merchandise they had before,” she said.

Last Thursday, Lienhard asked that 11 types of sexually explicit items be pulled from the shelves — vibrators, a graphic blow-up doll and some lotions. An employee complied with that request.

On Monday, she said, “They had more vibrators and more very explicit adult novelties. It’s definitely what you would find downtown in the business zone,” where adult entertainment businesses are allowed by city law. “We have had city officials look at what the other adult stores downtown are selling, such as at Francis Canteen. The things Mr. Haltom is attempting to sell are much worse than that in my estimation.”

Brown said he informed Haltom the city couldn’t issue an occupancy permit because much of his merchandise violated the existing zoning regulations.

Lienhard added, “I stressed to him it is a zoning issue; not a constitutional issue. … He admitted to David Brown and myself that he does this for publicity and that even if we succeed in blocking him from opening by Christmas, he is assured his stores in Lincoln and Omaha would see an increase in business.”

 

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