The Detroit City Council today voted 5-3 against transferring a topless dancing permit from a downtown bar to potential owners wanting to open a Larry Flynt Hustler Club.
The property at 415 E. Congress is currently home to the Zoo Bar. An owners group, known as HDV Greektown, has asked for the license transfer.
An attorney for the owners said earlier this week that the club would employ up to 125 people.
Before the vote, an attorney for the Perfecting Church in Detroit urged City Council to vote down the license transfer.
Attorney Richard Mack of Detroit said the Zoo Bar is licensed for topless entertainment but hasn’t been an adult entertainment club for at least two years. The venue is mainly used as a concert hall, he said.
However, during the weeklong festivities before Super Bowl XL, adult film star Jenna Jameson hosted a party at the Zoo Bar that featured topless dancing.
“We must stand against this,” Mack said. “In this case, the club will be one of the largest strip clubs in the area – if not the state – within one block of a child day care center where parents may have to pick up their children at night.”
Mack said downtown crime will surge and property values will decline with a strip club in the area.
The City Council declined to act on a previous request to transfer the permits in 2003, prompting the owners to sue for the right to open.
The bar owners first took the council to court when it tried to prevent the opening of a Deja Vu strip club at the same location. A judge had ruled that the club could open.. At that time, owners also had talked about opening as a Hustler club.
The previous ruling permitted the owners to open a Deja Vu nightclub, but the council never transferred the liquor license.
Attorney Frank Palazzolo, who represents HDV Greektown, said the owners filed another lawsuit this year after the City Council declined to act on the transfer.
Palazzolo said: “My client is disappointed with today’s vote and we’ll just continue with the litigation that has already been institued.”
Council members who voted against the transfer were: Brenda Jones, Kwame Kenyatta, Martha Reeves, JoAnn Watson and Monica Conyers.
Sheila Cockrel, Alberta Tinsley-Talabi and Ken Cockrel Jr. voted for the transfer.
Sheila Cockrel declined comment except to say her vote reflected the “serious litigation” that is still pending.
Kenyatta countered that he’s not worried about the lawsuits.
“I think we’ll weather the storm on this,” said Kenyatta, who voted to reject the license transfer.