Fate of adult cabaret in federal judge's hands

David Yates Sep. 2, 2009, 11:10am

The Gold Club

Following a police raid, the owners of Gold Club, an adult cabaret operating within Beaumont city limits, had little choice but to obtain a temporary restraining order to keep its doors opened and poles greased.

Three days after filing a suit in federal court, Fannette Entertainment (Gold Club) sought and received a temporary restraining order against the city of Beaumont on Aug. 14.

A preliminary injunction hearing has been slated for Friday, Sept. 11.

For the past seven years, Gold Club has entertained its patrons with "constitutionally protected" erotic dance performances.

On July 30, the owners of the Gold Club, Jerry Golding and Al Dicicco, received a letter informing them that the city had denied their license renewal and the club was to shut its doors.

The carriers of the letter, two Beaumont Police Department officers, "instructed the manager on duty to cease presenting dancers as entertainment, because the club had lost its sexually oriented business license, or to face arrest," court papers say.

But the club owners claim they were later led by the city to believe the dancers "could perform in bikinis without fear of action by the Beaumont Police Department."

However, on Aug. 2, the suit states that without a warrant or probable cause and "without paying the customary door cover charge that customers must pay to gain admission to the club," about 10 BPD officers entered the club and began to search the premises.

The plaintiffs claim during the encounter one officer informed the on-duty manager that if performers danced in bikinis in such a way as to "sexually arouse any patron," or "so much as winked at a guy," both the manager and the performer would be arrested for unlawfully presenting adult entertainment without a valid license from the city.

As it now stands, Gold Club wishes "to operate as an adult cabaret, or barring that, to present performances by dancers clad in bikini bathing suits until such time as it can again operate as an adult cabaret," according to the complaint.

During the injunction hearing, lawyers for the Gold Club will argue that the city's refusal to renew the license and BPD's actions violate the cabaret owners' constitutional rights.

According to court papers, one of the reasons for the denial of the license is the 1993 Virginia conviction of co-owner Golding on conspiracy to distribute cocaine and his failure to disclose that conviction in the club's June 2009 application, although the plaintiffs claim the conviction was disclosed on the club's original license application.

Gold Club is represented in part by Beaumont attorney Joseph Hawthorn.

Judge Marcia A. Crone is presiding over the case.

The case was filed in U.S. District Court, Beaumont Division.

Case No. 1:09-cv-00773-MAC

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