Franklin strip club continues fight to keep liquor licenses: Here’s where it stands

A Franklin strip club is continuing its fight to keep its state liquor licenses with the latest court filing in the yearlong battle with the city of Franklin and the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.

The club, New York New York, has asked Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus to overrule a state commission order that it cannot renew its liquor licenses. The state commission issued that ruling after a hearing in October at which the club appealed Franklin’s objection to its licenses renewal.

The business is continuing to operate pending the latest appeal, according to David Chicarelli, the attorney for the owners.

The Franklin County Common Pleas Court hears appeals for the state liquor commission and other state agency decisions.

Columbus attorney Kurt Gearhiser filed a motion for the owners Nov. 20 seeking a court order to suspend the state’s order citing “an unusual hardship” that would come from enforcement of the state’s ruling.

In his motion, Gearhiser said, “Denying appellant a stay during the pendency of this appeal will render the appellant’s appeal moot.”

“Without a stay order precluding the enforcement of the order Liquor Control Commission (the) appellant’s statutory right of appeal will be defeated,” the motion said. “Appellant will suffer great economic loss if this appellant’s permit privileges are suspended during the pendency of this appeal.”

Gearhiser could not be reached for comment.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a seven-page motion on Nov. 27 opposing Gearhiser’s motion for a stay, saying that the club failed to show that an unusual hardship would result if the commission’s order was not stayed.

“NYNY has shown a blatant disregard for the laws of the state of Ohio as evidenced by the various illegal activities that occurred inside the establishment,” the opposing motion said.

The opposing motion noted the club’s inability to sell alcohol cannot be used as an example of an unusual hardship and the ownership did not show how the club would suffer “a great economic loss if its liquor privileges are suspended.”

“NYNY has not demonstrated unusual harm and allowing the business to remain in possession of a liquor license would only increase the undue burden on the public,” the opposing motion said.

Franklin City Council formally objected to the strip club’s liquor permit renewal due to the state investigation that resulted in two arrests and several citations against its liquor permit in 2017.

Franklin police have been to the club 63 times since Jan. 1, including bar checks to reports of people selling drugs, overdoses, fights, break-ins and intoxicated individuals, according to dispatch records.

City officials say that New York New York has operated in a manner that demonstrates a disregard for state laws and regulations, city ordinances, and constitutes a nuisance. The strip club and its employees have faced challenges from the city and investigations since it opened more than two decades ago.

MORE: Judge: Franklin strip club not responsible for actions of manager convicted of cocaine trafficking

In addition to its appeal of the state liquor control commission decision, the club owners are also facing a hearing before a Warren County Common Pleas Court magistrate concerning its operation as a sexually oriented business. Chicarelli said that hearing has been continued pending resolution of state appeals and has not been reset as of Tuesday.

The strip club was charged with drug sales and improper conduct following a three-month investigation by the Ohio Investigative Unit. OIU agents, Franklin police and the Warren County Drug Task Force made the arrests on March 31, 2017.

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