Ellicott City restaurant owner fined $300 after 2 strippers dance on bar

October 14, 2001|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Two female strippers who danced on the bar while they took off their clothes at a popular Ellicott City restaurant last year have cost the establishment's owner a $300 fine.

According to an agreed-on statement of facts, an off-duty Howard County police officer and his girlfriend were in the Phoenix Emporium in the 8000 block of Main St., on Sept. 29, 2000, when two women danced for 30 minutes on the bar, gradually disrobing until only thong panties were left, while patrons stuffed money into the women's underwear.

The officer, Michael Johnson, reported the incident to Detective Martin Johnson, who investigates liquor law violations.

Owner George Goeller wasn't there, and no one got the women's names - except that one was called "Michelle," a bartender testified.

Goeller's lawyer, James Hanson, argued that instead of charging the licensee, police should have arrested the women and charged them with indecent exposure.

However, the bartender did not stop the performance, and the women had been there five or six times before, according to testimony.

The board, made up of the five County Council members, decided on a $300 fine in an order dated Oct. 3.

Board members noted that Goeller has a good record, had fully cooperated with investigators and has ordered his staff to never allow that kind of dancing again.

Johnson said Howard County liquor laws specifically prohibit bar employees from allowing dancers to bare their chests or torsos, or from allowing customers to put tips into performers' clothing.

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