The Dickson Beer Board gave Bulldogs Bar and Nightclub the option of serving a 14-day suspension of its beer permit or paying a $500 penalty for allowing prohibited sexual activity during a performance by male dancers.
Two special agents of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission testified at a special session of the Beer Board April 17 that five performers from Hunks The Show performed lap dances in the audience that included contact in violation of a state law prohibiting sexual conduct in a business holding a state liquor license during the Jan. 21 show. The City of Dickson’s municipal code also contains the same prohibition for businesses with beer permits. The TABC citation states, “The performance included simulating sexual acts, the performers and audience members touching each other, and exposing buttocks.”
The TABC citation assessed a civil penalty of $8,050 but Simmons testified that Bulldogs negotiated a settlement with the ABC’s legal counsel.
According to an agreed order signed by Bulldogs owner Luke Frost, the TABC suspended the club’s liquor license for two days and assessed a $2,000 fine for seven violations, one for prohibited conduct by each of the five male dancers, one for giving away free drinks and one for “failure to maintain law and order.” The order states the license was to be suspended Feb. 22-23 and the fine to be paid by Feb. 28.
On its Facebook page, Bulldogs announced it would be closed Feb. 20-23 for “deep cleaning” and reopened with a Ladies Night Feb. 24 and a Mardi Gras party Feb. 25.
Special Agents Kaley Simmons and Monica MacKin testified they saw an advertisement for the performance on social media and were assigned to go to the club undercover to watch for violations. MacKin said she recorded over 90 minutes of video showing the performers having contact with audience members on and off stage and showed segments of that to Beer Board members.
Frost did not contest the allegations, saying he had previously hosted the same performance without incident, including on one occasion when there was a TABC agent present.
“It’s unfortunate this event happened. We’ve had this show four times, three times previously,” Frost said. “Discussed it with the business, the owner of the company, to discuss what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed.”
Frost said due to personal reasons he was “in and out” of the building in the time frame of the performance and “it’s unfortunate that some of the actions that did happen happened but I’m the owner, I take full responsibility.”
City Attorney Jerry Smith explained that the Beer Board, which consists of the entire City Council, must determine whether a violation of the city’s Municipal Code occurred and, if so, how many violations occurred.
With members Jason Epley (1st Ward) and Kyle Sanders (2nd Ward) absent, the Beer Board unanimously approved a motion by Horace Perkins III (3rd Ward) to find Bulldogs in violation of the Municipal Code prohibition on “sexual or pornographic conduct.” The board then voted unanimously to approve a motion by Stacey Levine (3rd Ward) to consider it one violation.
Smith said the violation can be punished by a suspension of the club’s beer permit for a minimum of 14 days up to permanent revocation of the club’s permit. He said the board also can offer the offender the option of paying a civil penalty up to $1,000 in lieu of a suspension.
Board member Dwight Haynes (4th Ward) said since it is Bulldogs’ first offense he made a motion to suspend the beer permit for the minimum 14 days and offer the option to pay a $500 civil penalty instead of the suspension, which passed unanimously.
Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. informed Frost he has seven days to pay the penalty and, if not paid, the 14-day suspension of the beer permit will begin at midnight of the eighth day.