Lewd acts were allowed in show bar, agents claim Testimony set today on liquor board charges

November 09, 1995|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The city's liquor board will hear testimony today from state undercover agents who watched illegal gambling and naked women performing lewd acts during a $30-a-ticket bull roast last month at the Platinum Club, a Curtis Bay show bar, according to liquor board charges.

Aaron L. Stansbury, the board's executive secretary, said that in the 27 years he has worked for the liquor board he has never before seen charges "quite this explicit" against a bar for violating liquor regulations that ban obscene acts and prostitution.

In addition to charges relating to the lewd acts performed by patrons and naked go-go dancers, the owners of the Platinum Club, in the 5500 block of Pennington Ave., are charged with gambling violations for operating an illegal money wheel that was spun by a nude woman.

The charges are detailed in a three-page report written by two special agents for the Investigative Services Unit of the state comptroller's office.

The two men attended the bull roast undercover on the afternoon of Oct. 1.

On two other dates -- Sept. 29 and Oct. 5 -- plainclothes city police officers also watched dancers revealing their breasts while performing on top of the bar, according to police reports.

Liquor board regulations prohibit bare-breasted dancing in licensed bars.

Bar owners also "cannot permit prostitution or other inappropriate touching," Mr. Stansbury said.

In addition, the liquor board filed charges against the bar owners for illegally serving alcohol to a minor after an underage police cadet was served several rounds of beer Oct. 5 without being asked for identification.

The charges were filed against the bar's licensees Frank Shaulis and Marc Rosenberg of Baltimore and Lorraine Cummings of Silver Spring.

Mr. Stansbury said his office received an anonymous tip on Sept. 29 that there would be an event at the Platinum Club the following Sunday where liquor board violations might occur.

Because the city's regular liquor inspectors were scheduled to keep an eye on drinking activities at the Fells Point Fun Festival that Sunday, Mr. Stansbury said he called the state comptroller's office for help.

The state sent the special agents, who usually monitor contraband liquor, to the South Baltimore bar where they saw a sign advertising "The Platinum Club Fall Bull Roast" after they paid $30 each to enter.

Once inside the large brick building, in an industrial area near the Anne Arundel County line, they saw 10 to 14 nude dancers performing on top of the long bar and on the floor where they allowed patrons to perform lewd acts with them for a fee.

Although the women were described as being naked, the agents saw one dancer wearing a "Baltimore City Police uniform shirt displaying what appeared to be the official logo-police patch on the upper sleeves."

In interviews this week, owners Mr. Shaulis and Ms. Cummings downplayed the charges, saying they were isolated events in an otherwise well-run business. Ms. Cummings said she was unable to get to the bar on Oct. 1 because the Beltway was closed due to an accident.

"This has been one clean operation and will continue to be. There was a little problem we had when somebody couldn't get here from the Beltway," said Mr. Shaulis. He said the bull roast was run by the bar's bouncers.

Mr. Shaulis has been an owner of the bar since 1991, when it was called the House of Class.

Mr. Shaulis took on Ms. Cummings and Mr. Rosenberg as new partners in January when the name was changed to the Platinum Club.

"It was really an unfortunate thing. We're new at this," Ms. Cummings said.

If the liquor board finds the owners violated liquor regulations, Mr. Stansbury said the board can impose any of a number of penalties, including a fine, a license suspension or revocation or a restriction that would prohibit dancers at the bar.

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