Laurel bar accused of indecent performances asks liquor board for mercy Problem corrected, attorney contends

March 10, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

The owners of a north Laurel bar and grill were "as surprised and shocked as anyone," their lawyer said last night, by a liquor inspector's allegations that female dancers exposed private body parts and allowed male customers to touch them.

Attorney Thomas M. Meachum asked the county liquor board not to impose the maximum penalties in a hearing on the complaint against the Good Guys Bar and Grill made by Detective Michael J. Sherman, the county liquor inspector.

"We had police officers drop by who told us they thought the club was well run generally," Mr. Meachum said. "If the incidents did occur, they are not indicative of the way the club was run."

Detective Sherman disagreed. "I considered this a major violation," he told told the board. He said he made four visits to the restaurant in October and November and that on each visit dancers exposed their buttocks during performances. Some dancers exposed other body parts, he said, and one massaged herself and allowed herself to be touched by male customers.

Mr. Meachum told the board that both the dancer and the day manager, who allegedly witnessed what Detective Sherman called obscene performances, have since been fired.

The restaurant now has a job description telling dancers how they are to behave on stage, has hired a person to watch each performance to assure that the dancers conform to the law, and requires the dancers to wear shorts, Mr. Meachum said.

"You don't know how badly I feel about this," said Benham Zangenah, the restaurant's principal owner. "Every time I was there, I talked to police officers who told me we ran the best bar in the area. I was so much in the woods I couldn't see the trees. Please see the job description" now in place for the dancers.

He asked board members to visit his restaurant to see for themselves how it is run now.

The board could fine Mr. Zangenah and the other licensees $1,000 for each alleged violation and suspend or revoke the license.

Mr. Meachum never mentioned revocation, suggesting that the board instead impose a fine of $1,000 for each incident and a suspension of three or four days if it finds the owners violated the law.

The board decided the case in closed session following the hearing and will issue its decision in about two weeks.

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