Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Adult club challenges regulation

Union Township law illegal, Deja Vu suit says

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Union Township's new attempt at regulating adult entertainment has been challenged by Clermont County's new nude dancing club.

        Deja Vu sued township trustees, administrator and police, saying the resolution passed last month is unconstitutional.

        Deja Vu dancers communicate a “very erotic message” that is protected by the First Amendment and within the law, club lawyer H. Louis Sirkin said Monday.

        His suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, asked Judge Sandra S. Beckwith to strike down the new township ordinance.

        Since Deja Vu opened April 1 at 516 Batavia Pike, the club and dancers have had no problems with the township, Mr. Sirkin said. “At the moment, everyone is getting along.”

        Judge S. Arthur Spiegel struck down Union Township's nude dancing law in 1997 after Mr. Sirkin sued on behalf of Rumors All Nude Review.

        That club preceded Deja Vu on Old Ohio 74 in the Mount Carmel area.

        Judge Spiegel said the absence of time limits for decisions on licenses and renewals was a fatal flaw in the town ship regulation.

        Timing problems remain in the new law, Mr. Sirkin said in the complaint.

        He said other flaws include a lack of criteria for granting a license, conflicts between township and state closing times, a lack of limits on how background checks can be used and the township's decision to hold the club strictly accountable for employees' missteps, whether accidental or intentional.

        For those and other reasons, the new law violates the First Amendment freedom of expression, Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable searches, and other rights, Mr. Sirkin said.

        Rumors, Southwest Ohio's first all-nude club, opened in 1995. It has moved about a half-mile west to the former Stock Exchange tavern building — putting two such clubs in the same small business district.

        Township attorney Lawrence E. Barbiere, who helped write the new ordinance, would not comment on Mr. Sirkin's complaint, but Township Administrator Kenneth Geis said:

        “We think that we corrected the issues in the last complaint, and we stand by the resolution.”


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