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Joe Redner to seek county post

The defender of lap dancing says he can handle Hillsborough's water supply better than those now in office.


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 6, 2000

TAMPA -- Tampa's nude dance king is making another foray into politics, he said Monday.

Joe Redner, who made millions in the strip club and adult entertainment business and made Tampa famous for the Mons Venus lap dance, will run for a seat on Hillsborough's Board of County Commissioners this fall.

Redner said he filed Friday to run in District 3 against incumbent Thomas Scott. Scott and fellow Commissioner Jim Norman's relations with medical equipment salesman David Bekhor have been the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.

But Redner said who he's running against isn't the issue. He lives in District 3 and thinks he has a lot to offer voters there.

"There's lots of reasons why I'm running," Redner said. "This drought we're in is one of the main ones; they should've managed the water supply better. Who my opponent is is not important to me."

Of course, Redner also said that last fall, when he lost the race for an at-large Tampa City Council seat to the man many people saw as his nemesis, Bob Buckhorn.

As the incumbent councilman, Buckhorn had regularly butted heads with Redner over Tampa's nude clubs. After Buckhorn won by a 3-1 margin in March 1999, he led a successful drive to ban lap dancing, the activity that made Redner and his clubs famous. A lawsuit challenging the ban has kept the law from being enforced, and lap dancing is still practiced.

Redner also owns a half-interest in the Tanga Lounge, another nude dance club on the Courtney Campbell Parkway; Extreme, a popular Hyde Park gym; and several other businesses and investment properties.

During his decades in the adult entertainment business, Redner has been arrested more than 150 times and fought countless legal battles to keep nude dancing legal around Tampa.

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