The owner of a closed Sandy Springs strip club has sued the city for forcing it to close temporarily following a December 2016 raid. The club, Flashers, has since closed permanently after losing a legal battle against Sandy Springs.
The lawsuit, which is against the city and Fire Marshal Doug Brown, said Sandy Springs “searched and closed Flashers without meaningful notice or an opportunity to be meaningfully heard.” A company that owned the strip club, 6420 Roswell Rd., Inc., filed the suit.
Sandy Springs spokesperson Sharon Kraun said the city has not yet seen the complaint and cannot comment.
The club, along with the city’s two others that have also closed following the lawsuit loss, Mardi Gras and Coronet Club/Doll House, was searched in an unannounced raid in December 2016 that led to arrests on charges of “solicitation of an illegal sexual act,” according to a Reporter story. Several citations for violating city codes were issued.
“Five days after the inspection, the fire marshal ordered Flashers to shut down and cease operations,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed Dec. 14 in federal court.
Flashers was ordered to complete electrical repairs following the raid, and the lawsuit alleges the city unjustly delayed certifying the repairs and allowing them to reopen. The club was not able to reopen until the Superior Court ruled in their favor two weeks after the raid, the lawsuit said.
“While Flashers was closed, it was prevented from offering First Amendment-protected entertainment, and it suffered economic damages, including lost profits and loss of goodwill,” the lawsuit said.
Kraun said in a statement in 2016 that the closure was needed because the violations were life-threatening.
“This is an older facility with no sprinkler system in place, and among the violations are serious electrical hazards, constituting an imminent threat to human life,” Kraun said.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation and reimbursement for attorney’s fees, it said.
The lawsuit alleges the city’s ordinances lack safeguards that could prevent businesses from being unexpectedly closed indefinitely. The city never closed other businesses based on alleged violations of its building or fire safety ordinances, the lawsuit said.
“This systemic shortcoming is especially troublesome here, where the ordinances were applied because of a distaste for erotic messages offered by a nude dance establishment located on a high-profile corridor of the City,” the lawsuit said.