County looks to settle with future strip club owner
July 18, 2001
Commissioners met with the county attorney Monday behind closed doors and discussed settling with the owner of a future strip club in Charlotte County.
Kipp Whaley, the owner of an adult video store off U.S. 41 in Port Charlotte, sued the county for stopping him from opening a strip club in the 4500 block of U.S. 41 about three years ago. The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court in Fort Myers in August of last year.
The county had issued Whaley permits and licenses, but officials revoked them when they realized the business was to be launched less than 1,000 feet from a private school.
Commissioner Tom D'Aprile said the commission discussed the settlement offer Whaley had made.
"We're definitely trying to settle, but if we have to go to court, we will," D'Aprile said.
Whaley is asking for about $45,000 in settlement money to cover the cost for lost expenditures for leasing the building and preparing it while in the licensing process.
"I'm not making any money," he said. "It's just out-of-pocket expenses."
Charlotte County Attorney Reneé Francis Lee said the county was expecting a lawsuit when officials revoked the permits three years ago. But she said the county probably would have received more lawsuits if officials had allowed Whaley to open a strip club at that location.
"I think we would have gotten about 15 more of the lawsuits if we would have let him open there," she said.
After Whaley's attempt faltered, new ordinances regarding adult entertainment, commissioners created extending regulations and the licensing process, further complicating his attempt to open.
Despite the obstacle, Whaley has found another location to open a strip club within the county. He is planning to expand his video store, formally called Exclusive Video -- located at 1225 Tamiami Trail -- into a 5,000 square-foot campus of adult entertainment.
He plans to call the new business Emerald City, and will it feature a 2,000-square-foot area of adult videos and novelties and 3,000 square feet of male and female review.
D'Aprile said he did not know how the community was going to react to the new business, but Whaley had gone through the permitting process and received all of his licenses.
"I don't know if this type of bar and this type of nudity is going to be accepted in Charlotte County," D'Aprile said.
Whaley is estimating the strip club will open sometime in August, but said he is not guaranteeing it.