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DuPage County may ban BYOB at strip clubs
By Jake Griffin | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/23/2008 12:04 AM

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Plans to regulate of adult businesses in DuPage County could mean soda and water only at gentlemen's clubs that feature all-nude dancers.

The DuPage County Board plans to hold hearings next month on potential new laws for adult businesses, including one that would close a loophole allowing patrons to bring their own liquor into strip clubs.

Currently, county ordinances prohibit female nudity at establishments that sell alcohol. However, operators of Diamonds Gentlemen's Club in West Chicago near the DuPage County Airport have been getting around that by only selling mixers such as ice, soda and water and allowing patrons to bring in bottles of liquor since opening in 2001.

Board member Jim Zay specifically targeted Diamonds when he proposed changing county ordinances earlier this year.

"No one's in there watching to see if they're being overserved," he said. "We're not shutting them down, we're just saying if you want people to drink there, you should be responsible."

He cited the deaths of six people in two DUI-related crashes involving patrons of the club in recent years. The club is currently fighting a civil suit in which family members of a victim in a 2006 crash are seeking damages for negligence. Attempts to reach anyone from Diamonds were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Assistant DuPage County State's Attorney Rick Veenstra said a new state law gives counties broader powers to regulate adult businesses.

"It would be like regulating any business," Veenstra said. "Our first step is to determine whether we want to regulate adult businesses."

Zay suggested any new laws would require the dancers to be clothed if alcohol is permitted on the premises or only non-alcoholic drinks be allowed if the dancers are nude.

West Chicago Mayor Michael Kwasman welcomes stricter regulations, calling it a means to better public safety.

"It's a good thing when you can control liquor where people have a history of not acting responsibly," Kwasman said. "I applaud Jim Zay for taking this on."

The county has limited number of adult businesses, but regulations would impact adult bookstores as well. Veenstra said not all businesses that sell pornographic materials would be impacted.

"A place like a convenience store where the material is secondary merchandise would not be affected," he said.

Diamonds is arguably the highest-profile adult business in the county. The establishment has been connected to two DUI-related crashes and a homicide in its 7-year history.

In 2005, Shelley Dogra crashed his car in West Chicago and killed three passengers after spending time at Diamonds. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. A few months later John Homatas drunkenly drove his car into oncoming traffic on Route 25 near South Elgin after visiting Diamonds. The crash killed his passenger, the driver of the other car and her unborn 8-month-old fetus.

In November 2006, Bradley Justice was charged with murdering a pizza delivery driver in a nearby parking lot after using a club bouncer's cell phone to order the food. He is awaiting trial.