Lincoln Park Makes a Terrible Deal to Let Strip Club Open

Alright, well I am terrible ashamed of my city right now.  There’s dispute over who is behind it, but whoever it was, it needs to be stopped.

Before I go any further, I would like to apologize to Councilman Mike Myers, for not researching his background enough to know that he would oppose the strip club (although I never said that he would support it).

Now, here’s what happened (source for information is the News Herald article available here: http://www.thenewsherald.com/stories/031608/loc_20080316005.shtml):

An attorney for the Larry Flynt Hustler Club (to be built on the corner of John A. Papalas Drive and Outer Drive) sued the city in December, claiming that some of the cities zoning laws were unconstitutional (even though the same club lost a lawsuit in Detroit).  (For my previous post on the subject, see here: https://inkslwc.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/lincoln-park-sued-by-hustler-over-ordinance/.)

Now, the city has decided to settle instead of face the club in court.  The settlement promises that the city won’t enforce its adult business ordinances against the club, and in exchange, the Park Theatre (1583 Fort St.), will close down within 45 days.  The owners of the theater will sell the lot to a group or business (most likely a community theater group) of the city’s choice.  A deed restriction that will be placed on the property will keep any adult businesses from ever owning the property.  Also, pictures of women and suggestive wording (“topless,” “nude,” “XXX,” etc…) will not be allowed on the club’s outdoor signs.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds had not approved the proposal as of the last report on Friday, so the club’s attorney would not comment on the proposal, saying, “Until a court enters an order, we don’t have an agreement.  The proposed settlement is all on condition of the judge’s approval.”

Lincoln Park City Attorney Ed Zelenak said, “We could do nothing to prevent it from opening, but we were still able to bring something back to the city.  The most important thing I see coming out of it is the city has enhanced its downtown area in securing the closure of the Park Theatre.  It’s been a blighting influence on the downtown area, and I’m satisfied that the citizens of Lincoln Park will have gotten rid of that unsightly blemish.”

Now, I don’t trust Zelenak – I’ve heard it from people in Southgate who dealt with these same types of issues that he shouldn’t be trusted.  And any lawyer who assumes that we can’t win a case that Detroit won is just not trying hard enough as a lawyer.

The Lincoln Park Ministerial Association held events on Friday opposing the the club.  Reverend Daniel Russell of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Park said, “From my standpoint, that settlement is a compromise, and we would not be in agreement with it as it still allows the Hustler strip club to be opened.  We are disappointed with our city for doing that.  We will continue to have a grass-roots opposition to it opening.”

I absolutely agree – this is a compromise and a TERRIBLE one at that.

Lastly, Mayor Frank Vaslo issued the following statement on behalf of the city:

While it is unfortunate the state and federal governments have not given local communities the tools necessary to combat the spread of adult entertainment venues, Lincoln Park has made the best of a bad situation.

When faced with the prospect of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that the city’s insurers and their attorneys told us we had no chance of winning and could most certainly result in a punitive millage being placed on the taxpayers’ bill, the council took the best course of action available to them.

In return for the city agreeing to the construction of a $4.2M (million) adult entertainment venue on the outskirts of the city, in an area zoned for adult entertainment, the developers would close the Park Theatre in the city’s downtown shopping district. This will allow for the theater’s redevelopment. This was a very responsible compromise that is in the best interest of the community as a whole.

My hope is, in the future, Lansing and Washington (will) look at the negative effects this type of business has on a community and allow for us to say ‘no’ to their expansion. But until then, we have to play the cards that we are dealt.

For 30 years, mayors and councils have tried to close the Park Theatre. We are finally going to do that.

No chance of winning? Then how did Detroit win? If they have a mayor who probably goes to half the strip clubs in Detroit (and this is said seriously, not as a joke – the cops in Washington, D.C. who were his body guards while he was down there said they wouldn’t follow him around anymore because he went into too many bad strip clubs, etc…), and their lawyers won a case, I’m sure our lawyers could.

But you know what the problem is?  CORRUPTION.  I smell it – and I think it’s Zelenak, if not others.  I’m not sure who all opposes the club, but I know that Brady and Myers do, and I’ve heard rumors that Thomas Murphy does, and Michael Higgins did (back when he was on the council) as well.  If we keep up a city of corruption, we’ll wind up like Taylor, who has struggled with corruption from the school board (back when my grandfather, Clyde Inks, ran and tried to end the corruption, along side of Joe Mayfield) to the current City Ordinance Officer who ignored the ordinances and harassed the Michigan Republican Party and me.

We must protest this direct violation of our city’s ordinance!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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16 Responses to “Lincoln Park Makes a Terrible Deal to Let Strip Club Open”

  1. John Marx Says:

    Kandes, DiSanto, McPartlin, Vaslo, Murphy, Myers and Brady – none of them wanted a strip club.

    The problem is that while Murphy, Myers and Brady were opposing the strip club, they also were telling the ministerial association that they would fight the lawsuit and would win and the strip club would never open.

    However, on Jan. 14, Myers, Murphy and Brady AGREED to settle the lawsuit. They gave the direction to the legal firm to draw up the papers and settle.

    Their actions are hypocritical, two-faced and reprehensible.

    And once the settlement agreement is made public, Myers and Murphy start claiming all sorts of ridiculous things: “I am outraged”, “I didn’t know anything about this”, “No one told me”, blah, blah, blah. They are shirking their responsibility to be honest and open to the taxpayers who put them in office. The key thing is that Myers and Murphy TOLD THEIR LEGAL FIRM TO SETTLE ON JAN. 14 and never once wavered until the settlement agreement was made public. What a bunch of cowardly wimps. They’ve had over 2 months to stop the process of settling the agreement. They did not.

    Kandes, DiSanto, McPartlin, and Vaslo didn’t align with the ministers nor accept gifts from the ministers nor patronize the ministers because they understood loud and clear that the Hustler organization would prevail in court. LP does not have the financial resources to pay off a lawsuit.

    Kandes, DiSanto, McPartlin and Vaslo understand that by fighting the lawsuit they would be putting the taxpayers in jeopardy. Their insurance carrier told them they would NOT pay if they lost the lawsuit. The legal firm representing the city told them it wasn’t worth the risk as they would lose. Murphy and Myers cannot grasp this concept or they just don’t care about the taxpayers.

    I don’t see corruption anywhere in this situation. Murphy, Myers and his wife can blame the city attorney, they can blame the city manager, they can blame the mayor all they want. But, facts are facts. Remember, the city attorney, nor the city manager can act without the full support of the council.

  2. inkslwc Says:

    Was the settlement wording directly given by the council, or did they vote to let the city manager and/or Zelenak draw up the settlement.

    Either way – I’m against a settlement. I don’t think we would’ve lost.

    And it’s not just Murphy and Myers and his wife that blame Zelenak, but even other people outisde of the city who have dealt with Zelenak before.

  3. John Marx Says:

    Zelenak and Duchane and Zelenak did not draw up the settlement.
    LP had a legal firm outside of LP handling this. Somewhere in
    Bloomfield Hills, I think.
    Zelenak and Duchane were included and advised along with all councilmembers every step of the way in the process.
    Every councilmember knew what was contained in the settlement
    agreement. They gave the go-ahead.
    So, inkslwc, do you not see the merit of closing that blighted Park
    Theatre. Do you not see the sensibility in not fighting a lawsuit
    we would lose – the result being a serious financial burden being
    placed on the taxpayers.
    Everyone I’ve talked to who has read the News Herald article are
    thrilled about the Park Theatre closing. No one had a problem with
    a Hustler club opening on that deserted stretch of Outer Drive and
    Papalas Drive.
    taxpayers.

  4. Nick Says:

    If Detroit can win a lawsuit something tells me Lincoln Park stands a pretty good chance too. RR, keep on top of this one… there’s more here than we’re hearing right now and you’re right on point…

    –Nick
    http://www.RightMichigan.com

  5. inkslwc Says:

    Here’s what Councilman Myers said on the Lincoln Park forum:

    I have no problem with the blog entry that was posted except to say that I have not announced to anyone what my position on Walmart is and it really does not matter because if they follow the established procedures they will be approved. Whether we privately support it or not has no bearing on how the City must treat them. Much like the proposed Hustler club.

    I appreciated the apology you posted on your blog and will tell you that I cannot speak for anyone else.

    My public and much discussed position on the Hustler issue is and has been that we cannot stop them from building. The previous Council approved their zoning and site plan and they needed nothing else from us to build. I do not believe that they ever applied for the Adult use license as required under 808 ordinances but if they met all the criteria outlined in that ordinance they would have been home free. Again whether I am for or against a strip club and the negative secondary effects it brings does not matter one bit in my role as an elected official.

    My position on the settlement agreement will be made clear this evening.

  6. Don Walker Says:

    Detroit’s strip club laws in limbo
    A federal judge’s ruling has stopped city from enforcing key parts like yearly safety inspections.
    Christine MacDonald / The Detroit News
    DETROIT — The city wants a federal judge to reconsider his order that appears to — at least temporarily — stop Detroit from enforcing key parts of its strip club ordinances, including requiring bars get annual safety inspections and that strippers obtain $250 identification cards.
    Detroit filed an emergency motion on Monday, asking U.S. District Judge George Steeh to clarify or throw out the preliminary injunction he signed last week in a lawsuit brought by All Stars on Eight Mile.
    The strip bar’s attorneys argued many of the city’s regulations governing the clubs are unconstitutional, in part, because they had no deadlines forcing the city to act, for example, to complete club inspections or background checks of dancers. The judge agreed, but his order for the preliminary injunction was so broad it appears to stop the city from enforcing much of the regulations, according to the strip club and city attorneys.
    A lawyer for the city says many dancers are refusing to pay the fee and don’t believe they have to get cards anymore, according to the city’s motion.
    And the bar’s license renewals are due this spring and there is confusion over whether inspections are required.
    “It appears this order has created more confusion than it cleared up,” said Brad Shafer, an attorney who represents strip clubs but was not involved in the All Stars lawsuit.
    “No one knows if or whether they have to get licenses. I don’t know what to tell my clients.”
    Michael Donaldson, an attorney for All Stars, said the injunction also stops police from demanding that dancers show they have a city-issued identification card, in part because if the officer confiscates the card, it suspends the stripper’s right to dance indefinitely. Under the city’s ordinance, a dancer can face a 90-day misdemeanor for failing to produce the card.
    “They are essentially out of work until there’s a hearing and you can’t do that,” Donaldson said.
    Nude dancing is protected by the First Amendment and the strip club lawyers argued that the city’s ordinances are an unlawful prior restraint on free speech, in part because there is no deadline to act.
    The lawsuit is headed for trial in early 2009, according to court records.
    In a written statement issued last week, city officials said they want Steeh to correct his order.
    “We are pleased the court upheld many of the provisions of the ordinance; however we will continue to work with City Council and the City Planning Commission to ensure all provisions of that ordinance are constitutionally sound,” said John Johnson, the city’s corporation counsel.
    Detroit generates close to $430,000 a year from new or renewal dance cards, according to a consultant’s analysis.
    The city has been charging dancers a fee for an ID card since 1971. In 2006, the city issued 1,715 new or renewal cards. Other entertainers don’t face similar permit requirements.

  7. inkslwc Says:

    With the condition Detroit is in, it’d dispicable that people want to make money off of something that’s just going to drive Detroit further into the mess of a city that it’s in now.

  8. Don Walker Says:

    The Lincoln Park Ministerial Association, Lincoln Parks Taliban

    In Afghanistan they have Islamic Mullahs’.

    In Lincoln Park we have Pentecostal and Fundamental Baptist Ministers.

    In Afghanistan, they have the Taliban.

    In Lincoln Park we have the Lincoln Park Ministerial Association

    The Taliban, under the direction of Mullah Muhammad Omar abolished civil law and instituted strict Islamic law.

    The Lincoln Park Ministerial Association, under the direction of Rev. Patrick Bozzio, has said “only God’s law matters”.

    The Taliban has the Ministry for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. It was used to terrorize and force people to comply with there interpretation of the Koran

    I think the Lincoln Park Ministerial Association has one of these to. It came to the Council meeting on Monday, March 17.

    In order to root out “non-Islamic” influence, television, music, and the Internet were banned during the Taliban’s reign.

    In Lincoln Park, in order to save us from evil and satin, The Lincoln Park Ministerial Association would like to ban alcohol consumption, gambling (including the lottery), non Christian music and reading material, and no viewing the naked body.

    Thank God the US Military saved Afghanistan.

    Who will save us?

  9. inkslwc Says:

    I’d like to see your sources.

  10. John Says:

    inkslwc, I’m curious to know why you believe Myers, Murphy and Brady?
    They have been sleeping with the ministers for months. They’ve had alot
    at stake because of all the promises they made, but knew they couldn’t keep.

    Furthermore, it makes no rational sense that Vaslo, Kandes, DiSanto, McPartlin, Zelenak and Duchane are all lying and conspired to settle without the others knowing about it. Come on, let’s use some common sense.

    Murphy has a long history of being a complainer and troublemaker, Brady was voted off council two years ago after she spent $2,000 of taxpayer money on her city-issued cell phone. Myers, well, his wife forced him to run for council just so she could have a seat. As a lifelong Lincoln Parker,
    I KNOW that those 3 are disdained by all intelligent taxpayers.

  11. inkslwc Says:

    I don’t trust Zelenak because I’ve heard things specifically about him from people who have dealt with him before.

    I watched the council meeting – and even if they’re in with the ministers, they’re in the right. Detroit won the SAME lawsuit that we put a settlement on – it doesn’t make sense.

  12. John Says:

    If you disagree with the fact that the council settled, then you must agree that ALL 7 councilpersons are guilty as charged. Not one of them is exempt. I don’t care how much Murphy, Myers and Brady protest and plead ignorance, they ARE guilty too.

    As far as Zelenak goes, let’s assume for a moment that he’s a “very bad attorney” as you’ve “heard”. If that’s true, then he brokered the settlement all by himself and told no one on the council. Come on, inkslwc, now that’s a stretch. I know that in all their protesting and outrage, Lyson, Myers, Murphy and Brady can sound pretty convincing to uninformed citizens, but give me a break. Zelenak has a spotless record in the legal profession and I hardly think he’s going to jeopardize his career by doing something stupid.

    I also don’t buy the other crazy theory that Zelenak, Duchane, Vaslo, Kandes, McPartlin and DiSanto all conspired together and settled the agreement without the knowledge of Murphy, Myers and Brady. That’s even more outlandish. Come on, inkslwc, I know you’re bright enough
    not to buy into that kind of insane thinking.

    I am taxpayer in LP. When I hear several experienced attorneys and insurance carriers say emphatically that the city had NO chance of winning the lawsuit and that the club would have been built anyway, I’m okay with it. The federal judge said the settlement agreement was fair.

    I know that I cannot afford to pay additional taxes toward a lawsuit which would have bankrupt the city. I don’t like taking million dollar risks with my money. If you paid taxes in LP, you might feel different.

  13. inkslwc Says:

    I’m disappointed in anybody who voted for a settlement, but that was a closed meeting – I am even MORE disappointed in the 4 who chose not to take it back after seeing it though.

    It’s not just people in Lincoln Park who say Zelenak is up to no good, but people who are in Southgate (where he’s lawyer) as well.

    I think DiSanto and McPartlin were on the fence (especially DiSanto).

    Detroit won a case against the SAME club – how did they win, but we’re destined to lose?

    And right, I’m don’t pay taxes to the city (yet), but my parents do – and that influences me.

    And think of what this will do to the quality of the city – Lincoln Park will go down the hill if the club does come here.

  14. Jp Says:

    This should read: Frank Vaslo Says: instead of John Says:

    John Says:

    March 22, 2008 at 2:54 AM
    If you disagree with the fact that the council settled, then you must agree that ALL 7 councilpersons are guilty as charged. Not one of them is exempt. I don’t care how much Murphy, Myers and Brady protest and plead ignorance, they ARE guilty too.

    As far as Zelenak goes, let’s assume for a moment that he’s a “very bad attorney” as you’ve “heard”. If that’s true, then he brokered the settlement all by himself and told no one on the council. Come on, inkslwc, now that’s a stretch. I know that in all their protesting and outrage, Lyson, Myers, Murphy and Brady can sound pretty convincing to uninformed citizens, but give me a break. Zelenak has a spotless record in the legal profession and I hardly think he’s going to jeopardize his career by doing something stupid.

    I also don’t buy the other crazy theory that Zelenak, Duchane, Vaslo, Kandes, McPartlin and DiSanto all conspired together and settled the agreement without the knowledge of Murphy, Myers and Brady. That’s even more outlandish. Come on, inkslwc, I know you’re bright enough
    not to buy into that kind of insane thinking.

    I am taxpayer in LP. When I hear several experienced attorneys and insurance carriers say emphatically that the city had NO chance of winning the lawsuit and that the club would have been built anyway, I’m okay with it. The federal judge said the settlement agreement was fair.

    I know that I cannot afford to pay additional taxes toward a lawsuit which would have bankrupt the city. I don’t like taking million dollar risks with my money. If you paid taxes in LP, you might feel different.

  15. inkslwc Says:

    Jp, are you saying that you think that John is really Vaslo? If not, I kinda lost you.

  16. danielle staub Says:

    I want to be a webcam model sex on the Internet to make extra money for school.

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