Police raid two nude dance clubs
By KATHRYN WEXLER and JOSH ZIMMER
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 15, 2001
TAMPA -- Police on Saturday evening raided one of the city's most high-profile nude clubs, Mons Venus, and arrested two Dallas Stars hockey players in town for a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tyler John Bouck, a rookie player celebrating his 21st birthday Saturday, was charged with violating Tampa's adult use entertainment ordinance. So was left wing Ted Donato, 31. But according to Hillsborough County jail records, Donato listed his employment as involving the Internet. He also told police he was self-employed.
Both were booked shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday and had posted $250 bail by 10:25 p.m. They showed up Sunday evening at the Ice Palace, and though Donato was scratched, Bouck played for seven minutes.
Police said last week they intend to enforce the ordinance the week before the Jan. 28 Super Bowl. Despite the ordinance, which is being legally challenged, owners of nude clubs are expecting a windfall from out-of-town customers seeking lap dances that week.
In all, three dancers and three customers were arrested Saturday at Mons Venus, police said. Two of the dancers charged were Amanda Lyn Endy and Mary Catherine Kelley, who also posted $250 bail each. The third dancer and third customer were released on their own recognizance. Their names were unavailable Sunday.
Five dancers were arrested at another club, Stiletto's, also on Dale Mabry Boulevard, police said. They were charged with nudity where alcohol is served. That charge is unrelated to the ban on lap dances.
Joe Redner, owner of Mons Venus, said the raid caught him by surprise.
"I didn't think they'd come in until after the Super Bowl was over," said Redner, who was at home when police made the arrests at about 7 p.m. and got to the club about two hours later.
By then, business had picked up again and lap dances were in the offing, Redner said.
"I have no idea what is in those people's minds," he said about the police.
The most recent arrests in connection with the ordinance were in mid November. Tampa police Capt. Jane Castor, who heads the department's Criminal Intelligence Bureau, said the timing of Saturday's busts had nothing to do with Super Bowl.
"We were enforcing this ordinance just as we have in the beginning and we'll continue to enforce it during Super Bowl (week) and after (the) Super Bowl," Castor said.
Lawyers are contesting the constitutionality of the December 1999 city ordinance that requires dancers to stay 6 feet from customers. A panel of six Hillsborough County judges has yet to make a ruling. To date, about 220 people have been arrested in connection with the restrictions.
Police say limited staffing restricts the number of arrests they can make because undercover detectives need several uniformed officers as backup in case customers or dancers resist arrest.
Five undercover officers conducted the crackdown Saturday, and uniformed officers transported those arrested to jail, Castor said. She said that the undercover officers had badges prominently displayed but that they may not have been noticeable, "because some of those places are so dark."
Castor also said the detectives went to other clubs to see whether they were in compliance, but would not say which clubs. "The majority of these places comply," she said. "There are certain clubs indicating they're not going to comply."
Dallas Stars Coach Ken Hitchcock downplayed the arrests Sunday when questioned about them at the game, which Dallas won 3-2.
"The worst part was that they paid their cover and all they got was a 360. They went in the door and went right back out," Hitchcock said. "They arrived, and 10 minutes later the place got raided. It was a pretty innocent thing."
When asked whether the crackdown might be bad for Mons Venus, owner Redner was indignant.
"Absolutely not. It's not going to impact business at all during Super Bowl. "
- Staff writer Damian Cristodero contributed to this report.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
local news desks