Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Stars owner vows to fight on

Tualatin council give a thumbs down on plans
by: JAIME VALDEZ, Jody Vanegas, Lake Grove, wears a “No” sticker while wait-ing to testify about Stars Cabaret at the Tualatin City Council meeting Monday.

TUALATIN - Attorney Greg Chaimov's words echoed in the Tualatin council chambers Monday night just long enough for the standing-room-only crowd to realize that Stars Cabaret co-owner Randy Kaiser wasn't going to stay long, but his fight with the city was far from over.

Quoting city leaders who avoided engaging in private talks about concerns for the proposed strip club, Chaimov informed the city council that Kaiser would not stay till the end of the hearing to answer questions.

'We,' Chaimov said, 'don't have the time.'

More than an hour after Kaiser and his attorney walked out of the hearing, the Tualatin City Council unanimously agreed to forward an unfavorable recommendation to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for the Stars Cabaret-Bridgeport liquor license.

The proposed strip club would be on the Lake Oswego side of Interstate 5.

What happens next is completely up to the OLCC. Either the OLCC director can deny the Stars license based on Tualatin's legal reasons or the matter could be placed before the OLCC commission for a hearing.

Either way, Kaiser says Stars is planning to fight for its right to operate a club in Tualatin.

From day one, Tualatin and Lake Oswego residents and Tualatin City Council members have sounded off in opposition to the proposed strip club at 17939 McEwan Road.

And members of the Lake Oswego City Council and School Board followed suit by sending letters to the OLCC and giving testimony at Tualatin's public hearing on Monday in opposition to the club.

Tualatin's investigation listed four reasons as grounds for denial of the Stars liquor license including records of noncompliance with state liquor laws, a history of serious problems at existing clubs in Bend, Beaverton and Salem, that the proposed location would be 500 feet from a children-oriented recreational facility and that the application was incomplete and inaccurate.

On Tuesday, Kaiser said Stars will work on its own report - one to rebut the findings in Tualatin's staff report and investigation.

'If I can't discredit the report, I'll eat the report for Christmas dinner,' Kaiser said during an interview. 'The way I believe it comes out, I believe the city will owe me an apology. They have maligned my reputation … They have made me out to be the ogre in the community. It's offensive.'

In a prepared statement he read during the hearing, Kaiser called the city's staff report 'seriously flawed' and noted that the city's continued actions against Stars support a possible case of civil rights violations.

On Tuesday, Tualatin City Manager Sherilyn Lombos said she is 'confident that (city employees) have handled this application and investigation in a thorough and professional way. I don't believe we have treated this case any differently, for a high-profile case like this.'

Kaiser found fault with the police department's portrayal of forgetting to list a few parking and traffic tickets under the licensees' violation history as equal to withholding information on an application. And he also focused on a working relationship he says Stars has in two other cities with 24-Hour Fitness.

In Tualatin, representatives with 24-hour Fitness on McEwan Road have come out against the proposed strip club, saying it would be bad for the gym's day-to-day business.

But pulling out a 24-Hour Fitness club membership box that Kaiser said he removed from the counter at the Stars in Salem, he noted that the strip club chain has a good working relationship with the gym franchise. And in fact, in Salem and Beaverton the clubs' employees and patrons are targeted to join the gyms, Kaiser said.

Kaiser also claimed that while Tualatin's staff report focused on the number of police calls at the Stars' three locations, the city report failed to mention the high number of police calls generated from 24-Hour Fitness. He did not provide the numbers during the hearing. Kaiser said he requested the police call numbers through the Washington County 9-1-1 dispatch services.

But councilors were not swayed by Kaiser's comments.

In reference to the police call volumes for Stars' other three locations - an average of 135 per location in 2007 - Mayor Lou Ogden said 'I can't see any sane government body issuing a license to an establishment with three to four times the police calls as other establishments.'

In the end Kaiser did not give any specific arguments for Tualatin's investigation. He also did not give any rebuttal to the concerns of The Little Gym of Lake Oswego/Tualatin whose owner Ron Skoletsky testified that the strip club could have an impact on his business which caters to children ages 4-months to 12-years-old.

On Tuesday Kaiser said that he was waiting for the right time and place to lay out Stars' entire case rebutting Tualatin's findings.

That 'right time' presumably would be the hearing or investigation by the OLCC.

Once the OLCC officially receives Tualatin's formal recommendation, a license investigator will do an investigation. If the city's claim that Stars should be denied a license has legal standing, the OLCC director can choose to issue a denial which Stars could appeal.

But if an OLCC investigation finds no legal ground for a license denial, then the issue will be placed before the OLCC commission for a testimony hearing.

It's unknown how long an OLCC investigation would take. And according to OLCC spokeswoman Christie Scott, the soonest the Stars application could be placed on an OLCC commission meeting agenda is February.

Kaiser had originally hoped to have Stars Cabaret-Bridgeport opened by November. When asked if he was bothered by the seemingly continued push back on his opening date, Kaiser said 'We're very patient people.'