Warren County strip club loses liquor license appeal, has been closed since mid-March

A Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge has denied the administrative appeal by the Franklin strip club New York, New York that was seeking to have its state liquor licenses renewed, to which the city of Franklin filed objections.

On Monday, Judge Kim Brown affirmed the Ohio Liquor Control Commission decision and ruled that its Oct. 31, 2019 order “is supported by reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and is in accordance with law.”

Franklin City Council issued objections to the renewal of the club’s liquor licenses for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 due to the state investigation that resulted in two arrests and several citations against its liquor permit in 2017.

While it is a final, appealable order, Franklin Law Director Lynnette Dinkler said the owners of New York, New York have the right to appeal the decision to the 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus.

“However, NYNY did not file a merit brief,” Dinkler said. “It made no argument. Therefore, it waived its rights. An appeal could be filed but it will accomplish nothing as no merit brief was filed to preserve arguments.”

Brown denied a motion in mid-December to allow the Franklin strip club to sell any alcoholic beverages while its liquor license appeal worked its way through the appellate courts.

Dinkler said the city of Franklin also moved to dismiss the Sexually Oriented Business Permit Administrative Appeal with prejudice on Wednesday, and that is pending in Warren County Court of Common Pleas.

These proceedings have been continued pending the resolution of the state liquor license appeals.

She said New York, New York, as appellant, has the burden to prove its case. Dinkler said dismissal of the administrative appeal would terminate their permit and permission to operate as a sexually oriented business.

David Chicarelli, who represents the owners of New York, New York, said the strip club has been closed since mid-March when Ohio’s stay-at-home order went into effect that closed non-essential businesses and mass gatherings of more than 10 people.

“We’re reviewing options to continue the appeal of the Sexually Oriented Business license,” Chicarelli said. “Our position is that the new ordinance doesn’t apply to existing businesses.”

He said the owners have two weeks to decide what to do next.

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.

The 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.

Following a one-day bench trial on March 21, 2019 a Warren County judge ruled on April 12, 2019 the corporation not guilty of any criminal liability for felony charges stemming from a local and state investigation that started in December 2016.

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