PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The adult entertainment club where three women were arrested on prostitution charges last week will remain closed until at least Wednesday when the Providence Board of Licenses issues a decision on the establishment’s future.
Attorneys for the city have asked the board to revoke the Foxy Lady’s business licenses, a ruling that would effectively shutter the well-known Chalkstone Avenue strip club after nearly 40 years.
The club has been closed since Dec. 12.
The board voted 3-1 Monday to keep the club closed until it reaches a decision during Wednesday’s meeting. Only Peter Mancini, a former councilman in Providence, voted against closing the club.
“This is their first time [appearing before the board],” Mancini told his colleagues. “We should commend them, after 38 years, for doing such a good job.”
Three women were arrested Dec. 12 for allegedly soliciting undercover Providence police officers for sex inside the club, a misdemeanor. Mayor Jorge Elorza has accused management of the Foxy Lady of running a “full-on prostitution ring.”
Fausto Anguilla, a former state lawmaker who is representing the Foxy Lady, told the board it is supposed to rule with “progressive discipline,” a policy that results in harsher punishment the more an establishment is accused of wrongdoing. He said the club has already faced excessive punishment because the club has been closed since the night of the arrests.
Anguilla also argued the undercover officers did not prove that prostitution is happening in the club. He said some dancers tell patrons things simply to get them into a private room for a dance, which is legal and results in them earning more money.
“’Anything you want’ is certainly not specific,” Anguilla said. “It’s vague. It’s ambiguous.”
Mario Martone, the attorney representing the city, agreed the board is being asked take a harsh position despite the club having no previous history of violations, but he said it is not uncommon for the city to seek to close an establishment if the first violation is egregious enough.
“It wasn’t a situation where five officers went in and it only happened once,” Martone said. “It was three for three.”