GREENSBURG — The St. Helena Parish Police Jury rejected a request to revisit allegations of liquor permit violations at The Mansion, an Amite-area lounge that advertises itself as “A premier gentlemen’s club.”
Toby M. Gascon, speaking on behalf of Oak Ridge Lounge during Tuesday’s Police Jury meeting, said parish ordinances require the jury to suspend The Mansion’s liquor license and conduct a disciplinary hearing after presentation of evidence of violations.
A 2001 parish ordinance forbids nudity in bars. The owners of the Oak Ridge Lounge filed suit and according to a 2005 settlement, the Oak Ridge Lounge is permitted to operate, but new strip clubs are prohibited.
On Nov. 9, Kenneth Holmes, a private investigator, reported witnessing alcohol sales past the 1 a.m. parish curfew and girls dancing on the bar while alcohol sales were ongoing.
At that time, the jury approved a motion to set a hearing for January and two weeks later, rescinded the motion on a 4-2 vote.
Tuesday, Juror Major Coleman asked jury attorney Clifton Speed about the rights of bars in possession of liquor licenses prior to passage of the nudity ban. Coleman asked if these businesses were not also entitled to grandfather status.
Speed said they would have such status only if they were part of the suit that resulted in the court-approved agreement.
After conducting an “investigation by me personally” and with “the establishment’s cooperation,” Coleman stated, “I go back to the lawsuit. You can’t grandfather one business.”
Hammond attorney Timothy Fondren, representing The Mansion, said his reading of the parish ordinance does “allow a business to operate besides Oak Ridge Lounge.”
“My client operates as an adult cabaret,” that is legally observing laws as described within parish ordinances, he added, and the jury moved on to other business.
Outside the meeting, Vaughn said he planned to take the matter back to the Sheriff’s Office and if need be to the State Police. “I’ll put a lawsuit on these people (jurors). We made an agreement,” he said.
Fondren declined comment.