Within months of reopening, a St. Helena Parish strip club has landed in hot water with the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, which claims to have once again found a used condom in the VIP room.
An ATC agent inspected the Oak Ridge Lounge on Wednesday prompted by a recent story in The Advocate about the club reopening, the ATC wrote in a news release. In the story, Oak Ridge management discussed their desire to rebrand the club and distance themselves from their past trouble with the law.
In 2012, the club’s alcohol permit was suspended after the ATC found bugs in the liquor, premium bottles being filled with bottom-shelf product and a used condom in the VIP room.
In the past week, an agent found five violations, including “unclean/unsanitary conditions,” the release states.
There was trash “all over the place” as well as a condom stuffed into a sofa cushion in the VIP area, ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert said.
Oak Ridge owner Bobby Vaughn disputed the claims about the condom, saying it was unused and still partially in its wrapper, as if, perhaps, it had fallen out of someone’s pocket.
“If it were more than that, I might be a little worried,” he said.
The four other violations were all related to paperwork — employee records weren’t immediately available, not all the servers had completed a two-hour certification course on selling alcohol and a manager hadn’t been reported to the state as required for background checks. The club also was cited for having an expired local permit, though the St. Helena Police Jury renewed Oak Ridge’s forms with all the other parish businesses earlier in the month.
The club remains open.
An administrative hearing will be held in Baton Rouge in the coming weeks, probably in early March, Hebert said. During the hearing, the state will decide whether to dismiss any of the citations or levy any fines.
The maximum fine is $500 per offense.
Vaughn wondered if a few citations may be thrown out.
“We’ve got to see what happens in court,” he said.
Some of the infractions are minor, Hebert admitted, specifically referencing the requirement to report the names of managers.
“It’s not a big deal, you just have to report them,” he said.
The state requires the information to ensure that no convicted felons are employed in such positions. The commissioner said Friday the ATC was still checking the manager in question at Oak Ridge.
“I would consider this a very proactive inspection,” Hebert said.
“Given the history of this place, we’re certainly going to keep a close eye on them. ... We’re hopeful that they’re gonna run a clean and legal business.”