By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - The operators of the Venus Lounge dance club say the owners of Odd Fellows Hall and the contractors renovating the historic landmark are to blame for a fire at the Odd Fellows Hall that also gutted their club in May.
Brian and Kimberly Lagory and Ruth Everett filed suit Wednesday in Kenton Circuit Court against Odd Fellows II LLC and unknown contractors and subcontractors restoring Odd Fellows Hall in Covington. The sexually oriented business also named its insurance underwriters, Lloyd's of London, as defendants for not paying the full claim on business.
The suit asks for "fair and reasonable" compensatory and punitive damages because they incurred rebuilding costs above that covered by insurance, suffered loss of personal income, loss of potential future personal income, a loss of business income and have incurred mental pain, trauma and anguish.
Attorney Donald Nageleisen, who is representing Venus Lounge, said club owners were to close a deal to sell the building that houses the adult-oriented business as part of the city's redevelopment efforts the day after the Odd Fellows blaze. He said the fire scuttled that deal.
The club is located at 12 East Fifth St., adjacent to the Odd Fellows Hall. The hall - listed on the National Register of Historic Places - was gutted by a spectacular fire as developers were set to begin renovation.
The suit states the electrical fire started in the ceiling of a temporary office at the Odd Fellows Hall, set up the day before the fire. The suit claims the defendants were negligent for not providing the proper fire control systems, procedure or policies that might have prevented the blaze from engulfing the adjoining businesses.
"It was reasonably foreseeable that a fire may occur based upon the condition of the premises and/or structures, the fact the electrical wiring was not up to code, the fact the building did not contain any sprinklers, fire prevention equipment, etc."
Covington attorney Gregory Shumate, who represents the owners of Odd Fellows, learned of the suit when called by a reporter Wednesday afternoon.
"I haven't seen the suit," he said, "but it is my recollection that the fire inspector went in there and didn't pinpoint any fault on my client."
Venus Lounge is rebuilding in the same location. Even though only the brick facade remains, Odd Fellows Hall owners are planning to save the structure.
TRISTATE REACTS TO WAR
War news better, but still worrisome
Local soldier on TV in Iraq
Girl Scouts support troops
Vigils, Meetings, Rallies
Keeping in touch
IN THE TRISTATE
Airport scans all checked bags now
Twitty car wreck remains mystery
Catholic students gather to call for end to Iraq war
Kids already giving back to community
Booth ends 5-year stint serving on City Council
Panel may rule against Cranley
Suit says city violated labor act by cutting OT
Tristate A.M. Report
PULFER: Gorman Farm
Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Popular tavern draws complaints
Monroe budget deficit brings talk of cuts or higher taxes
Beer might liven up next Freedom Fest
Home repair funding sought
Switcheroo planned by GOP
MRDD services won't be withheld
Development gains tax package
House to decide on gambling
U.S. Senate panel OKs ethanol bill
Mega Millions profits underwhelming
Airport pays church $3.2M
Ky. Democratic candidates gather to hash out issues in forum at NKU
Club blames fire on contractors, building owners
Wal-Mart strictures settled
Woman, 31, found dead in pickup submerged in river
Judge delays trial in death of toddler
Two men charged in Georgetown slaying
Ky. to open six new courses
Obituary: Edra Black, widow of former Enquirer editor