Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 7, 2013

Another strip club gets city scrutiny

Demolition order issued on Club Fantasy Girls.

Kokomo city officials aren’t calling it a crackdown, but Kokomo’s strip clubs appear to be under increasing scrutiny for potential zoning code violations.

Wednesday, the Kokomo Board of Public Works & Safety issued an order to demolish on Club Fantasy Girls, 1218 E. Vaile Ave., citing the business for structural and electrical issues.

“It needs a new roof; it has foundation issues. There’s a laundry list of things,” Kokomo Fire Department Deputy Chief Nick Glover said Thursday. “We don’t want to tear down businesses, but if it gets to the point the city has to step in, we will.”

Glover said the issues came to light during the strip club’s annually-required city fire inspection.

The business’ owner, Lawrence Franke, Indianapolis, has been contacted, and indicated a willingness to make needed improvements, Glover said. Franke couldn’t be reached for comment.

The move to cite the Vaile Avenue strip club comes as the city is currently embroiled in a court battle with the owners of Tease, a near-south side club, over a city citation for an alleged zoning violation.

The Kokomo Board of Zoning Appeals backed the city in December, finding that club owners Bret Morrow and Dustin Ogle expanded the club — which had previously operated for a decade as a strip club — in violation of the city zoning ordinance.

As a result, the owners are contesting the BZA decision in court, and are operating Tease as a bar while awaiting a decision from Howard County Special Judge William Menges.

The city has also moved to obtain concessions from Kokomo strip club owner Dan Dumoulin II, who agreed in late January to remove signs a group of community activists had deemed offensive. Dumoulin removed female silhouettes on two signs.

“I don’t think there’s any particular focus. We’re not looking at any certain type of areas to clean up — we’re looking at every kind of area to clean up,” Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said.

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