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COA upholds denial of alcohol license to strip club

February 20, 2018

An Indianapolis strip club will no longer be able to serve alcohol after the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the renewal of the club’s alcohol license, finding the premises had become a public nuisance.

In February 2012, Jeffrey Moe purchased property along West Morris Street in Indianapolis and took over operations of Lenny’s Gentlemen’s Club, a club that had operated on Morris Street for decades. Moe applied to renew Lenny’s permit to serve beer, wine and liquor, presenting evidence to the Alcoholic Beverage Board of Marion County that he had installed security cameras and hired security personnel to secure the premises that was home to illegal activities, including drug use.

Remonstrators, however, presented the board with video footage of club patrons loitering in the parking lot and firing weapons into the air. Thus, the Marion County board denied the renewal of Moe’s permit.

The club owner then took his case to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, telling a hearing officer in October 2015 that there had been no police runs to Lenny’s in the last six months. But a local police officer noted the severity of police calls to the club was more important than the number, and remonstrators once again presented evidence of public intoxication and fighting in the club’s parking lot.

When the commission also denied Moe’s license renewal, he filed a petition for judicial review with the Marion Superior Court. The trial court affirmed the ATC’s decision, finding Lenny’s had become a public nuisance pursuant to 905 Indiana Administrative Code 1-27-2.

The Indiana Court of Appeals also upheld the denial of Moe’s license renewal in 255 Morris, LLC, et al. v. Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, 49A02-1701-MI-193, with Judge Patricia Riley writing Monday there was substantial evidence of illicit behavior occurring at Lenny’s. Riley specifically pointed to evidence in the record of shots being fired in the club’s parking lot, a nearby garage that is riddled with bullet holes, assaults on the premises and multiple incidences of public nudity.

“Therefore, viewing the evidence in favor of the commission’s decision, we cannot say that the Commission’s conclusion that Lenny’s constituted a public nuisance was arbitrary or capricious,” Riley wrote.

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