GONZALES - An Ascension Parish hearing officer on Wednesday upheld the denial of a parish strip club license for Suthern Kumfort’s Lounge in Prairieville.
Hearing officer John Lieux found the putative owner of the strip club, Steve Duke, 56, of Prairieville, did not provide adequate information on his sexually oriented business license concerning the club’s ownership.
Lieux found that Charles Puckett, 61, of Prairieville, was the actual owner of the bar based on the all the evidence presented in a day and a half of testimony Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Ascension strip club licensing law requires that license applicants provided true and correct information. The 2011 application said Duke was the owner.
The special administrative hearing was called this week at Duke’s request after Parish Council Chairman Pat Bell denied Suthern Kumfort’s license renewal on May 5.
The special parish license is needed so the strip club on Airline Highway can operate in the Ascension.
The club has been closed since May 6.
On May 4, bar patron, Willis Tanner IV, 28, of St. Amant, was beaten to death in the club parking lot by a man working for Duke, deputies have said. The death is the second at the bar since 2008.
A criminal probe of the bar ownership followed. On June 8, sheriff’s investigators arrested Duke and Puckett, a man they also say is the true owner of the bar, on counts of filing false public records in a scheme to hide Puckett’s ownership, deputies have said.
Puckett is a convicted sex offender on parole and is barred from getting the license.