In November of 2013, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department began a mission to close Jezebel’s. Sedgwick County’s Adult Entertainment Code enables the County Clerk to revoke the entertainment license of any club that commits even one code violation. Just about any violation of the law by a club employee or a series of at least three obscenity violations would have enabled the County Clerk to close Jezebel’s. But that was not enough for the Sheriff or his undercover agents. They saw fit to do more investigating.
In a four-page letter dated August 14, 2015, the Sedgwick County Clerk allege a myriad of violations, any one of which would have been sufficient to close Jezebel’s. The first alleged violation dates all the way back to early December 2013. The first alleged violation would have enabled the County Clerk to commence license revocation procedures. Nonetheless, on December 3, 2013, the Sheriff approved $20,000.00 in cash for use in an undercover investigation. Between early December 2013 and the spring of 2014, the undercover agents spent the entire $20,000.00 on expenses such as lap dances, visits to the VIP rooms for private lap dances, tips to the dancers and servers, and even several instances of “bottle service” when undercover officers were able to secure private dances and services from the dancers. These expenses and the officers’ alcohol purchases were paid for by tax dollars. Over the course of the undercover investigation, the undercover agents put together enough cases to close Jezebel’s many times over. But that did not stop the undercover agents from requesting and receiving another $5,000 cash for their continued “investigative needs” on June 21, 2015.
On August 17, 2015, with arrest warrants in hand, the Sheriff’s Department raided Jezebel’s. For at least one of the cases, an arrest warrant was issued for one count of serving alcohol to a minor, a class B misdemeanor. Arrest warrants for such low-level offenses in Kansas is extremely rare. The Sheriff then proudly proclaimed that the investigation was a success, that charges had been filed, and that the County Clerk was poised to close Jezebels. Since that time, at least five of the original nine cases have been dismissed by the District Attorney’s office.
Jezebel’s is closed, and more than thirty people are now unemployed. But the Sheriff and the County Counselor’s office are just getting started. Recently, the Sedgwick County Counselor retained a private attorney at the rate of $100.00 per hour to review and charge the adult entertainers in “obscenity cases.” The Sheriff has spent almost $25,000.00 and countless man-hours and resources on an overblown investigation, and now the County persists at the rate of $100.00 per hour to prosecute unemployed former adult entertainers for offenses such as touching themselves “inappropriately” while performing.
The Joseph Hollander & Craft law firm is here to level the scales of justice and see that the Sheriff and Sedgwick County Counselor are made accountable for their use of taxpayers’ money.