Thursday, March 07, 2002

Club owners vow to reopen today, despite arrests

By Sheila McLaughlin and Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — The owners of Bristol's Show Club and Revue are planning to reopen today despite a police raid Tuesday and the arrest of 18 dancers, managers and others for alleged bootlegging, cocaine trafficking and prostitution.

        Terry Wolfe, the husband of club owner Giselle Wolfe, arrived from Las Vegas on Wednesday and vowed to keep the business running even though police had cleaned out Bristol's records, confiscated computers and arrested much of its staff.

        He expects to reopen the exotic dance club at 11:30 a.m. — about 90 minutes before many of the Bristol's employees are expected to appear for arraignment in Lebanon Municipal Court.

        Police, who were still trying to locate seven dancers and a club manager on arrest warrants Wednesday, said they have no legal authority to shut Bristol's.

        “All we did was serve a search warrant. We have no ability to shut them down. They could have reopened five minutes after we left if they wanted to,” said John Burke, commander of the Warren County Drug Task Force.

        Mr. Wolfe said neither he nor his wife was aware of illegal activity.

        “If that's going on, we've got a problem. We didn't have a clue that there was anything going on,” he said. “We're trying to run a legitimate business, and (police) are trying to appease the people that are complaining.”

        He questioned the confiscation by police of $25,000 in the club's bank account in Monroe. He and his wife have not been charged in the investigation.

        Mr. Burke said the Wolfes could face criminal charges later if the club's records link them to criminal activity.

        Police also seized computers and financial records from the Wolfes' Hyde Park residence.

        Drug agents began their investigation in October after receiving a tip about possible trafficking.

        The investigation quickly expanded when undercover agents, who made 20 visits to Bristol's, witnessed drug abuse, sex for hire and the illegal sale of beer, Mr. Burke said.

        The club lost its liquor license in 1995 for improper conduct by dancers and obstructing an inspection.

        The raid came four days after four dancers and two men described by police as “associates” of the club were secretly indicted on cocaine charges. One of the men also is charged with trafficking in methamphetamines.

        Mr. Wolfe plans to meet with drug task force officials Friday to discuss the investigation.

        “We're not trying to hide anything,” he said.

        Since its opening, the club has survived pressure from state liquor authorities and village officials who have attempted to regulate Bristol's through zoning and licensing restrictions.

        Monroe City Manager Donald Whitman, who was on the scene during the Tuesday raid, said the adult entertainment club had attracted few police runs in recent years.

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