An attorney for Little Rock's Paper Moon Gentleman's Club said Wednesday that the club cannot get a fair appeal hearing before the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control agency over allegations that threaten the club's liquor.
The strip club has been operating without a liquor since it was yanked by the agency's director in June, after the agency alleged more than 70 violations of its rules.
The club's attorney is John Walker of Little Rock, who's also a state representative. The alleged violations ranged from improper contact between dancers and patrons, over-serving impaired customers and allowing prostitution.
Little rock strip clubs
The club has faced similar allegations in the past, including when six dancers were arrested in on prostitution and sexual-indecency charges. That appeal began Wednesday with Walker accusing the five members of the board of having already made up their minds about the club. To save himself, the board members and other attorneys from a lengthy hearing Wednesday, Walker proposed that the agency accept a transcript of nearly eight hours of testimony from a hearing that precluded the director's decision.
That hearing was conducted by staff members, not before the board. Walker said his proposal would have allowed the board members to review the facts on their own time, and to return to make a decision. Chip Leibovich, an attorney for the agency, told the board that he was caught off guard by the request.
He expressed concerns that skipping testimony could affect the agency's chances if Walker appealed a negative decision to Pulaski County Circuit Court. The board rejected Walker's request, leading to several hours of testimony in which Walker clashed with board members and agents who testified about undercover operations inside the club.
At one point, board Chairman Freddie Black said that delays in the afternoon's hearing appeared to be "by de" of Walker, prompting an exchange in which Walker asked Black to recuse from the matter for bias.
Little rock strip club says it's in uphill struggle
Black responded that any "bias" he had was the result of what he had heard during the hearing. He refused to step down. During the testimony of the agents who went undercover at the club, Walker repeatedly questioned how the three officers were able to identify dancers as employees of the club.
The agents said they relied on their "experience" and observations of the dancers' outfits -- described as little more than underwear -- in determining that they worked for the club. But when Walker attempted to read into the record a judicial order from determining that dancers at the club -- then called the Prime Time Club -- were not employees as defined by federal or state law, Black refused to allow Walker to read the court record.
Black reasoned that Walker was reading from his cellphone, and that his reading of the record could not be verified.
Walker later told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the order he was reading was from U. District Judge Brian Miller, in the case Hilbor n v. Prime Time Club. The hearing concluded shortly before 3 p.
Black said the board will meet again at 9 a. Print Headline: Little Rock strip club says it's in uphill struggle. Little Rock strip club says it's in uphill struggle Appeal on liquor underway by John Moritz August 15, at a.