For years Flashdancer Cabaret -- the topless joint that sits on E. Randol Mill just across the freeway from Cowboys Stadium and the Ballpark in Arlington, or so I've been told -- has been at odds with the city and state, which have tried their best to shutter the joint. Used to be there were more than a dozen strip clubs in the city limits, but according to the Star-Telegram in October that number began dwindling about 20 years ago, when the city began its clampdown on sexually oriented businesses, and really dried up when Jerry Jones brought the Dallas Cowboys from Irving to Arlington. At least, that's Flashdancer's story per the federal filing dropped off in Fort Worth Wednesday.
Flashdancer's owner, Ryan Grant, claims in the suit below that Arlington, with the help of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (which recently moved its local operations to Arlington) and the Texas Attorney General's office, has been harassing his club for years in the hopes of juicing its crime stats and forcing its closure. Grant, who says he had to pay big money to get the SOB license Flashdancer was initially denied in 2007, maintains that there have been numerous raids in recent years, targeting dancers, customers and club owners resulting in small busts (all right, calm down) and TABC fines that were "not valid." For instance: The suit alleges that one dancer was popped for selling ecstasy in 2010, and that the club was hit with a $40,000 fine, even though the dancer was never prosecuted. Then, last year, the club was hit with a massive raid, during which Arlington police posted "riflemen on a freeway overpass adjacent to the premises."
Grant insists in the federal filing that he's never had any knowledge of wrongdoing in the club -- and, furthermore, he says that during one police raid he was beaten up and maced. The Star-Telegram story from last fall noted a state hearing this month during which Flashdancer will attempt to prove to the state it's being a good citizen.
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