The Forest Park City Council voted Wednesday to appoint an officer to preside over a special hearing involving the possible revocation, or suspension, of business and alcohol licenses held by two strip clubs.
City Manager John Parker recused himself from officiating over the hearings because he is a defendant in several lawsuits filed by, or on behalf of, one or both of the clubs –– Crazy Horse Saloon and Pink Pony South.
The council approved the appointment of attorney T. Michael Martin, because of his experience as a hearing officer and former Forest Park Municipal Court judge. The appointment authorizes Martin to conduct the hearing, or hearings, and to enter into written decisions on behalf of the city manager in accordance with local ordinances.
Parker told the council that Martin's decision will be binding.
City Attorney Robert Mack said Martin will be fair to both sides.
"He'll follow the law," said Mack. "He's even-handed."
Parker said the evidence against the clubs includes graphic videotape.
"If these folks abided by the ordinances, they'd never see us," he said.
The city will likely begin proceedings against the clubs within the month. The show-cause hearing will be held at Forest Park City Hall, and will be open to the public.
"Once we let Mr. Martin know of the appointment, he will notify the club owners and establish a hearing date and time," said Parker.
It will be up to the club owners, city officials said, to provide reasons why the city should not revoke or suspend their business and/or alcohol licenses. The losing side has the right to appeal Martin's decision to Clayton County Superior Court.
City officials were tight-lipped Wednesday as to specific details leading to the hearing. However, a report filed by Forest Park police on Sept. 13 shows that a dancer and customer at Crazy Horse Saloon were arrested for public indecency when officers found the pair partially nude in the VIP section of the club.
Antonio Lavariego De La Rosa, 29, of Newnan, allegedly told police he paid Heather May Stout, 21, $100 for a private dance. Both were arrested. De La Rosa pleaded no contest to his charge Sept. 19 and was sentenced to 12 months, to serve 10 days in jail.
His sentence was suspended upon payment of a fine. Stout's case remains open, and she is free on bond.
Club Manager Christopher Butler, 42, was cited for operating an adult entertainment establishment without a license.