Strip club can temporarily have liquor license back, state rules

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The strip club shut down by the city of Providence last week for allegedly allowing solicitation of prostitution can have its liquor licenses back as it awaits a full appeal, the R.I. Department of Business Regulation ruled on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Wild Zebra argued before the DBR on Friday that they should get an emergency stay of the license revocation. The DBR only has jurisdiction over the liquor licenses, not adult entertainment. All the business’ licenses were revoked by the Providence Board of Licenses.

The now-granted stay means the club could reopen as a nightclub — without its nude performers — if it gets a business plan approved by the city licensing board.

But Peter Petrarca, one of the attorneys, said the club will file a complaint with the R.I. Supreme Court on Wednesday to try and get a stay granted on the adult entertainment license as well. He said the club plans to wait for that court ruling so it can fully reopen as a strip club, rather than just a nightclub.

The Providence Board of Licenses shuttered the business for “gross negligence,” arguing management allowed alleged prostitution to take place in the back room of the Allens Avenue establishment.

Undercover detectives testified before the licensing board that they were offered sex in exchange for money in the back room by dancers at the club. They also said they heard people having sex in other back room cubicles, and saw condoms in the trash.

The board argued that the lack of supervision by management of the activities inside those cubicles led to the club’s negligence.

But the strip club’s lawyers pointed out that other clubs have VIP rooms, and said the club would be willing to lower the partitions to three feet. That’s what the Foxy Lady did as a result of mediation last year, after the same licensing board shut down that strip club for similar accusations.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

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Providence

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