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Citing nude dancing, Cincinnati sues to close Diamond Palace Nightclub, LGBT club downtown

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Mistresses of Illusion

CINCINNATI – Saying undercover officers witnessed nude dancing, the city has sued to close the Diamond Palace Nightclub downtown.

Police have had to make an inordinate number of runs to the club for shots fired, fighting and disorderly conduct complaints, Capt. Paul Broxterman of the Central Business District said.

The nightclub’s Facebook page advertises gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender entertainment and calls itself a club for everyone.

But the city, which owns the building at 435 Elm St., says it’s a strip club, claiming:

> On June 17, undercover officers witnessed nude, semi-nude and lap dancing.

> A year ago, undercover officers went inside and found 20 females dancing in various stages of undress.

Several dancers were arrested for being an employee of a sexually oriented business, and the club doesn't have a license for that.

The city's complaint included photos of dancing with dollar bills on the floor, plus a man sexually touching a woman.

But some dancers described as women may have been transgendered men.

On top of that, the Ohio Department of Public Safety issued violations for unsanitary conditions, including insects in liquor bottles.

The club's managing member, Robert Griffin, talked with the city about making changes, but a memorandum of understanding was never signed.

The city wants to have the bar declared a public nuisance and closed for a year, so it took its case to Judge Melba Marsh's court Thursday.

Attorney Lou Sirkin, Griffin and General Manager Christopher Brown were there, too, but everything took place in chambers.

In the end, the case was continued until Oct. 29. That gives both sides a chance to negotiate a deal.    

There are two interesting legal issues here:

> Because the city owns the building, it technically is the club's landlord, so why doesn't it just evict the club?

> The timing of when the city first knew about the dancing and when it took action.

Neirther Sirkin nor city solicitor John Curp would comment.

The club opened last December across from the Duke Energy Convention Center, at the site formerly occupied by Launch and Lunar.

Related story: Mistresses of illusion: Different faces of Cincinnati drag http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/mistresses-of-illusion

Photo gallery: The making of a drag queen http://www.wcpo.com/news/news-photo-gallery/the-making-of-a-drag-queen

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