December 13, 1999 07:37am
Club Owner Taunts Mayor Over Lapdance Ban
TAMPA (Reuters) - A week after Tampa banned nude lap dancing, the owner of the city's biggest strip club challenged police on Friday to arrest his dancers for violating the new law.
Joe Redner, the owner of "Mons Venus," Tampa's best-known adult nightclub, hung a sign outside his club this week attacking Tampa Mayor Dick Greco that read: "Greco, you coward, enforce your ordinance."
Redner said he would allow his dancers to perform nude if they wanted to and would pay their legal fees if arrested.
After a 13-hour meeting, the Tampa City Council last week passed an ordinance, which Greco signed, requiring dancers to stay at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from customers. It was intended to stop nude dancers from rubbing up against customers.
Dancers and customers who violate the ordinance can be fined $1,000 and sent to jail for up to six months. Clubs that repeatedly violate the ordinance could be closed.
Supporters of the ban said nude lap dances promote prostitution and the spread of sexual diseases and are bad for Tampa's image. Many dancers said they fear they would lose much of their income because of the ban.
Tampa police have not arrested anyone for violating the ban. Police officials said they want to give the clubs time to adjust to the new rules.
Dancers who wear at least a swimsuit will not be arrested.
Redner said he would fight the ordinance in court, but similar restrictions in neighboring cities like St. Petersburg and Clearwater have been upheld.
Redner ran for the City Council last March, but lost badly to Bob Buckhorn -- the author of the ordinance.
Exotic dance clubs generally charge $20 for a lap dance that lasts a few minutes. Customers usually tip after the dances.