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Mingo meeting gets heated

Little is accomplished in settling village’s strip club issue

June 16, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

MINGO JUNCTION - Thirty minutes of screaming and yelling Friday afternoon didn't settle much between the village administration and the owner of an adult entertainment business.

Shawn Smith, owner of Hidden Treasures on Commercial Avenue, exchanged words on the telephone on Thursday with village Administrator Frank Fuscardo over village attempts to approve an ordinance that would regulate sexually oriented businesses. The two agreed to a face-to-face meeting on Friday.

Smith questioned Fuscardo and Mayor Ron DiCarlo about why the village administration and council are harassing his business.

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The mayor and village administrator in Mingo Junction, Ohio, discuss an issue concerning a strip clu

"The residents don't want that establishment in this town," DiCarlo said.

Smith asked Fuscardo and DiCarlo how many times the police department has been called to his club.

"We haven't caused you guys any problems," Smith said.

Police Chief Steve Maguschak said there are ongoing investigations involving the business and wouldn't comment any more.

DiCarlo said he has received many complaints about Hidden Treasures.

"Even when I was running for mayor, people asked me if I was elected would I close the establishment. We will do whatever the laws of Ohio and the village allow. If he is legal, we are not trying to run the business out of town,"DiCarlo said.

Smith said he doesn't believe the proposed ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses in the village applies to him because he is "grandfathered" because the business was opened about a year ago. The ordinance doesn't specifically state if the ordinance applies to existing businesses.

Village Solicitor Ernest Wilson said the ordinance doesn't ban such clubs, but does regulate what can happen at the clubs.

The ordinance requires the business owner and employees to apply for a license and undergo criminal background checks.

Village officials, including the police and fire chiefs, review the application for a license and council has the final say on granting the license.

Smith called Mingo Junction a "decrepit" town full of bars that are falling down.

"If this town is no good, why are you here?" Fuscardo asked.

Smith alleged that the village administration is trying to run businesses out of town.

"What goes on in my strip club is legal. How can you pull away people's (Constitutional) amendment rights to have a business in town?" Smith said.

Fuscardo said the village is asking Smith to stay within the guidelines of the proposed ordinance, which specifically spells out where the dancers can be located and forbids physical contact with patrons.

"I have stayed within the guidelines," Smith countered.

Smith said he has been slandered by council in news reports from council meetings.

He said he averages about 100 to 200 customers a week at his business.

"If you don't like my business, shut up or put up and buy out my business," Smith said.

"I wouldn't stoop that low to do what you do," DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo said after the meeting that nothing had been accomplished.

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