EAST END (FOX19) - Will City Council tell state officials to deny a liquor license renewal for an East End nightclub, effectively shutting it down?
That's what city and police administrators are recommending for Outer Limits off Kellogg Avenue.
Allegations of murder, drug deals and sex acts on stage sent police to Council's Law and Public Safety Committee two weeks ago. The issue came back up at their meeting Monday.
Police are objecting to the club's liquor license renewal in light of what they say is a long list of problems at the club, formerly known as Annie's, since the venue opened more than 30 years ago, back in 1982. Those include shootings, drugs, a deadly beating, and now prostitution.
District 2 Detective Charles Zopfi told Council's Law and Public Safety Committee Monday that, despite promises made by owners, things are not improving. There have been 137 criminal offenses reported there, 180 arrests and two homicides, he said. A third homicide case is in the courts now, he added.
The club has the second highest crime rate in District 2, second to Cameo Night Club, he said. That's where 17 people were shot last year. Two of them died, including one of the suspected shooters.
Council Members Chris Smitherman and Amy Murray voted 2-1 Monday to recommend against the liquor license being renewed. Councilman Jeff Pastor voted against.
"When you say you've done everything in your power, I can't imagine three four women, however many women, performing oral sex on a stage, and being paid to do that. That's really hard as the chairman of this committee. Even if you say it's a one off to look past that," Smitherman said.
State liquor control officials will have final say.
Cincinnati police said "the straw that broke the camel's back" was a live rap concert in July 2017 called "Red, White, and Booty Bash."
Hosted by nationally known rapper Uncle Luke, the event advertised "the largest twerk contest in Ohio with a $500 cash giveaway."
The dance-off, police said, evolved into women being encouraged to engage in a sex act with each other to win money, according to cellphone videos reportedly taken that night and posted to YouTube.
Police said evidence shows that four women "competed" by performing lewd acts in front of hundreds of people and then taking the cash.
The club owners also are facing charges of procuring prostitution in a separate criminal case.
A lawyer for the owners of the club, Christopher Heekin, appeared before the committee earlier this month and again Monday.
He said the club's owners already have take extra safety precautions by hiring private security and off-duty police officers.
The East End Area Council also has expressed support for the club.